How to Prevent Cold & Flu

How to Prevent Cold & Catarrh (Flu)

A huge number of people are affected by  cold and catarrh, Flu and   Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI) caused by bacteria and  viruses every year but what is the difference between the two, what are the causes cold and catarrh (Flu) and what can we do to protect our families from this illness in the Harmattan season ?


The common cold and catarrh is caused by a mild viral infection of the nose and throat. It's very common and usually clears up on its own within a week or two. The main symptoms of the common cold include[i]:

The  flu as well as other URTI are respiratory infections caused by the bacteria and viruses, particularly influenza virus These symptoms appear suddenly and although similar to common cold are usually more severe. Flu and these infections can  also result in more serious health problems such as pneumonia so it is important to rest well if you become ill.  The symptoms  may include any of the following[vi]


It is a common misconception that cold,  catarrh, and URTI (Flu) are caused by the cold temperature. While the number of people struck down by these viruses does appear to increase during the cooler months, the only thing that causes a cold, catarrh, and URTI, is if you contract a virus which causes them.[xiv] There are many different strains to these viruses all of which are highly contagious so it’s important we understand how to protect our families from illness.

Some of the most common ways we contract cold and flu include:

  • Touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes[xv]
  • Inhaling the virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs[xvi]

Tips for cold and flu prevention

Plenty of rest and staying hydrated[xvii] is the only way to beat a cold or the flu but there are steps we can take to protect our families from becoming ill. Below are some tips to help prevent the spread of the influenza virus:

  • Keep your house clean. We can catch viruses by touching objects infected with bad germs and then touching our mouth, nose or eyes. Stop these germs spreading in your home by ensuring surfaces and door handles are cleaned and disinfected regularly using Dettol Multi Surface Cleaner.
  • Be careful when you cough and sneeze. Preferably carry a tissue with you to cover your mouth if you need to sneeze or cough. This will prevent the cold and flu viruses entering the air and infecting others. Any used tissues should go in the bin as soon as possible, then wash your hands using soap such as Dettol Original Bar Soap.[xviii]
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. cold, catarrh, flu and URTI  viruses can enter your body through the mouth, nose and eyes, so if you can avoid touching these areas the chance of passing on the virus to your system will be reduced.
  • Use your own cup, plates, cutlery, toothbrush and towel. By doing so you will limit the spread of germs between individuals. It can take few days for flu symptoms to develop so it’s always best to be cautious about sharing personal items, even if the other person appears to be well. [xix]
  • Keep your clothes clean. Your clothes can harbour illness causing germs too, so if you or a family member has been unwell with cold or flu, try adding Dettol Antiseptic Liquid to your laundry to make sure any germs are killed.[xx]
  • Look after yourself. Keep your immune system happy and healthy by eating a balanced diet and making sure you and your family are getting enough sleep. Also try to avoid close contact with those suffering with cold,  catarrh, or URTI.[xxi]
  • Good hand hygiene. One of the most common ways we become ill is by passing germs around on our hands, so practicing good hygiene can really help cold and flu prevention. Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with warm water and soap such as Dettol Original Bar Soap is one of the easiest ways to stop the spread of cold and flu viruses. If you are out and don’t have access to a tap try using DettolInstant Hand Sanitiser to stay protected from bad germs.[xxii]
  • Teach your children the benefits of good hygiene. Influenza  viruses are highly contagious, particularly amongst children when they are in close contact at school. It is important to remind your children of the importance of good hand washing practice and encourage them to wash their hands regularly with soap and water. Follow our step-by-step handwashing guide here.


Cold and flu viruses are very contagious so being aware of cold and flu symptoms, and taking a few extra precautions, could help to protect you and your family. Make sure you rest well and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water to prevent the spread of illness causing germs. This guideline is for information only and should not be taken as medical advice. Anybody experiencing symptoms of illness should consult a healthcare practitioner.