HOW TO TREAT A COLD ON BOARD
Written by Nathan Bees
Last updated: 02/12/2019
Working aboard a superyacht doesn’t mean that yacht crew aren’t at risk of catching colds and other related illnesses. Sure, you don’t come into contact with exposed, public-facing surfaces that are known breeding grounds for germs, but that doesn’t mean germs can’t make their way on board.
Welcoming different guests and taking delivery of different day-to-day items can see germs transfer on to a yacht – and just like on dry land, you could be unfortunate enough to become infected.
We all know what happens when one person picks up a cold: Everyone around them soon catches it too.
Never fear. We’re here to help you through the struggle with some cold remedies and general advice on how to treat the illness.
What are the symptoms of a cold?
While massively unpleasant, cold symptoms are easy to identify. They usually consist of one or more of the following:
- A blocked or runny nose
- A sore throat
- Regular coughing
- Muscle aches
- A raised temperature
- Pressure in your face, particularly your ears
- Loss of taste and smell
Age and physical health has no bearing on the symptoms an individual can experience; common colds manifest themselves in virtually the same way in everybody.
How to treat a cold aboard a superyacht
It’s not always easy, especially when you’re working long hours on board during a charter, but there are a few things you can do to both ease and treat a cold.
All of the following are worth trying:
- Getting as much rest and sleep as possible
- Stay warm
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to avoid dehydration
- Gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat
Do medicines help to relieve cold symptoms?
Certain cold medicines can help to relieve some symptoms such as a blocked nose or headaches, but there is no miracle cure that will rid you of the illness in double-quick time.
Decongestant nasal sprays or tablets can help with a blocked nose, and this may be particularly useful at night when you attempt to go to sleep, while paracetamol and ibuprofen are ideal to ease aches and a high temperature.
Be careful not to consume general cough and cold medicines if you’re actively taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets: It’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.
Some medicines are not suitable for children, babies and pregnant women.
How long does a cold last?
Usually a cold will pass in a week or two – but particularly bad bouts can last a while longer. As long as you notice an improvement within three weeks, you should be on the road to recovery.
If this happens, it’s unlikely you will need to visit a GP, but…
When to see a GP about a cold
While the majority of common colds do not require the advice or intervention of a GP, you should seek medical help if:
- Your symptoms do not improve after three weeks
- Your symptoms dramatically worsen very quickly
- You have a particularly high temperature or feel hot and shivery
- You find it difficult to breathe
- You develop chest pain
- You suffer from a long-term medical condition, such as diabetes
How to avoid spreading a cold on board
It’s incredibly easy for cold viruses to spread to other people, so it’s important you take responsibility for your personal hygiene to ensure you don’t pass the virus on to others.
Firstly, you need to remember that you’re infectious until all your symptoms have gone. As outlined above, this can take a week or two.
Secondly, colds spread from coughs and sneezes, with germs able to survive on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. With this in mind, you can reduce the risk of spreading a cold by:
- Washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap
- Using tissues to trap germs when you cough/sneeze
- Binning used tissues immediately
How to avoid catching a cold
Interestingly, a person can start spreading a cold before they notice any symptoms, so it’s always sensible to be vigilant even if you don’t think anybody you come into contact with has an obvious cold.
The best ways to avoid catching a cold include:
- Washing your hands with warm water and soap
- Regularly using hand sanitizer/antibacterial hand gel
- Not touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with any germs
- Not sharing towels or other household items
- Staying fit and healthy generally
It’s worth noting that having a flu vaccination will help to prevent flu, but does not immunise against colds.