Fed up of your child catching colds?

  • The average child gets 12 colds a year and the symptoms can last two weeks or more. There is no cure!
  • The Childrens’ Hospital in Edinburgh are doing a study to see if using salt water nose drops help children with colds get better more quickly and less likely to pass on the cold to others.
  • You can sign up at any time to take part during your child’s next cold!
  • You only need to attend one appointment to sign up. Your child doesn’t have to attend.

If you’d like to find out more go to: www.elviskids.co.uk or contact the ELVIS Kids study nurse on 07973 657457.

Families completing the study will receive a £30 voucher and reasonable travel expenses to compensate for any inconvenience.

As you know, the common cold is a major problem in children. Many viruses can cause the common cold and there is no antiviral or vaccine against it. We are hence looking for an effective intervention against the cold.

Lab Evidence: Recently we published evidence that our cells produce hypochlorous acid from chloride ions to fight infecting viruses. Cell were able to fight viruses when we supplied the cells with salt (sodium chloride) as a source of chloride ions. This antiviral effect was present against all the viruses we tested. Our results were recently published and you can read it here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-31936-y.

Common Cold in Adults: We also did a small study of nasal irrigation and gargling with salt water in adults with a common cold. Interestingly, there was a significant reduction in the duration of illness by almost 2 days (1.9 days), over-the-counter medication use, transmission within households and viral shedding in those who did the procedure compared to controls. This study has also been published and you can read it here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-37703-3.

The ELVIS Kids Study in Children:  Based on the above, we are now conducting a large study of salt water nose drops in children under 7 (i.e. before their 7th birthday) to see if it could reduce the duration of the common cold. Children do not need to have a cold to join the study. When they join, the child would randomly be allocated to the salt water arm or the control arm. Parents/guardians of children in the salt water arm will be taught how to safely prepare salt water and apply the nose drops when the child has a cold. The control arm will deal with the cold as they normally do.

Parents/guardians can call/text 07973657457 for an appointment to sign up and to be taught what to do the next time their child has a cold. Apart from this visit (30-40 min), everything else can be done from home/online. The child does not need to attend the hospital (if it’s more convenient that way). Families completing the study will receive a £30 voucher to compensate for any inconvenience. If need be, reasonable travel expenses can also be covered. Further information is available here: www.elviskids.co.uk; Twitter:@ELVISKids; Facebook: ELVIS Kids Study.

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By David Gilmour

Learning Technologist East Lothian Council