One-third of Canadians always have cold

Sept. 7, 2011 at 12:42 PM
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KINGSTON, Ontario, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- In any given month, one-third of Canadian adults have a sore throat, cold or flu, but one-fifth of those sick ignore symptoms altogether, researchers said.

Queen's University medical researchers conducted a review of 80 published clinical trials, studies and research projects representing the work of more than 300 researchers from more than 100 universities and institutions.

The review also found two-thirds of Canadian adults experiencing the first signs of a cold or flu used some type of self-treatment, with women more likely to self treat but also consulting a doctor more often than men.

Cough and cold remedies are the second most commonly used medications in Canada.

Canadians spend more than $300 million a year on over-the-counter cold and flu treatments and prescription antibiotics which, for the most part, neither "ameliorate symptoms nor change the course of the illnesses."

"Preventative measures that result in even a modest reduction in colds and flu would have a significant impact on reducing costs to the healthcare system and impact on the economy," the researchers said.

Queen's researchers also cite a sharp increase in pediatric asthma cases as a result of rhinovirus infection, the primary cause of colds, when school begins.

"School-age children have been shown to introduce rhinovirus infections -- cause of the common cold -- into their families three times more frequently than working adults," the researchers added.

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