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Teaching Tips 134

Spooky lessons
Cinquains
The Cold War

Halloween

Spooky lessons

Halloween is nearly upon us so here are some ideas & links.

Monster consequences

This is a variation on the game consequences where you circulate papers in turn adding a bit of information, folding them over & then at the end opening out the paper & reading out the wacky result.
Here you design a moster. All students take a piece of paper & describe the monsters head at the top - this could be drawn. They then fold the paper & hand it to their neighbour to their left. Then all describe the body & do the same - fold & hand on. And on like this with a scary feature, the food it eats, something about its habits, a noise it makes & a name for the monster. At the end each student opens the paper & reads aloud about their monster.
Instead of folding the students could see the previous things & have more of an idea of the monster & a description is being built.

Scary movies
Students write a list of scary movies & explain what happens in their favourite one. Then, each group designs a new monster for a new scary movie. They decide on its name, eating habits, likes& dislikes, physical description, habits etc.

Start you own business - rent-a-ghost
People rent hosts from your company to scare others at Halloween. Design a brochure of available ghosts for hire, including a picture & description of haunting characteristics, special talents & hourly rates. Students then roleplay sellers/customers looking for an appropriate ghost. Give the customers a role card before with ideas.

Ghost interviews
You have a Rent-a-Ghost business which is going well & need to hire more ghosts. Interviewers prepare suitable questions to interview ghosts .g. ways of scaring people, special talents, why they would be good for the job etc. Ghosts also prepare mini-CVs containing previous experience, special haunting skills, ghost courses completed. They need to ask about conditions & pay at the interview. The interviews take place & the best ghosts are chosen.

Ghost hunters

Like Ghost Busters, the film, these people get rid of ghosts. All students draw a ghost & the teacher takes them in.
Std A - has spotted a ghost in their house - one of the ghosts that has been drawn, & they must describe the ghost, what it does, when it arrived, conditions in the house when it arrived etc.
Std B - works for 'Ghost Hunters' & will interview the house owner about the ghost. Also give advice on what to do to get rid of the ghost.

Radio Show - interview with a vampire
Students write down everything they know about vampires - two groups.
Grp A are the presenters on a radio show - they interview about the vampire's daily routine, clothes, habits, likes etc.
Grp B - are the vampires who prepare details about themselves.
Could record the interviews.

Design a potion
Students design a new potion & the advert that sells it. They need to decide on its magical properties, who it's for, what it contains, the packaging, name & slogan. All mingle selling their potions to each other, persuading each other they need this new magical potion.

Scary sounds
You need a tape of a series of scary sounds. Play the tape & students work out a story that fits. If no tape, you could make the noises!

Horror story writing
Students first plan the story deciding on the time, setting, characters, plot etc. (background-problem-solution-outcome) Could also look at specific vocab they might need - scared, terrified, scream, creaking, gloomy, chains, etc.

Act it out
Students discuss fave scary movie & choose a sketch to act out. They write a dialogue & then could write it as a radio play with background scary effects.

Halloween party
Students decide what costumes they would wear & what these character live would be like. Students then act out the party. Could use role cards to smooth things along.

From a brief look around at sites dedicated to Halloween it seems quite a commercial time. A lot of the sites have something to sell but keep looking & you’ll also find lots on information to use with all ages & types of classes.

Halloween


A couple of links for Halloween stuff:

http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-topics-halloween.htm
http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-topics-witches.htm
Lots of quality material for lessons from the British Council.

http://www.halloween.com/
http://www.kidsdomain.com/holiday/halloween/
http://www.holidays.net/halloween/

http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/halloween/
A time to tell your students a ghost story or two. At the History Channel they have some to choose from.

For information about storytelling, how to tell effective stories, check out the article used in the lesson plan here:
http://developingteachers.com/newsletterplans/june01_text.htm

And a few more ghost story sites:
http://www.halloweenghoststories.com/
http://theshadowlands.net/ghost/
http://www.ghostplace.com/

http://www.halloweenlinks.com/
A cauldron full of Halloween links

http://www.halloweenlinks.com/
Lots of personal experiences of Halloween

http://www.ghostsource.com/fs_werewolves.html
Reading about werewolves & links to related site

http://www.101halloweenideas.com/
101 Halloween ideas

http://www.halloween-clipart.com/
Clipart for all things Halloween

http://batbox.org/poetry.html
Bat poems

Back to the contents

five

Cinquains

It's always nice to find different & interesting ways to motivate students to write. We looked at Haiku's in a past Tip 'Hopeful Haikus':
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips30.htm

Here's a haiku from Issa

People working fields
From my deepest heart, I bow
Now a little nap.

The structure is:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

Have a look at the following poem, what do you notice about the structure?

Classroom
Instructive room
Working, guiding, praising
Slowly but surely plodding on
Progress

This is a Cinquain. Wikipedia has this to say about them:

Cinquain refers in general to any stanza or short poem of five lines..............Currently, the particular term "cinquain" often refers to a form invented by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey. The first examples of these were published in 1915 in The Complete Poems, roughly a year after her death. Her cinquain form was inspired by Japanese haiku and Tanka (a form of Waka (poetry) ). Its inventor called the form "the shortest and simplest possible in English verse." Other writers have been less complimentary:

"We did some research and discovered the cinquain was invented around the turn of the century by one Adelaide Crapsey, a humongously sensitive Vassar grad who died young of consumption and general weepiness. We have here in front of us several books of cinquains by Miss Crapsey, a hugely tragic figure, and we must say these are the most effete and vomitacious versifications, poems so ickily precious and pretentious they make haiku look like Kipling." (The Washington Post May 26, 1996)

Crapsey's cinquains utilized an increasing syllable count in the first four lines, namely two in the first, four in the second, six in the third, and eight in the fourth, before returning to two syllables on the last line. In addition, though little emphasized by critics, each line in a Crapsey cinquain has a fixed number of stressed syllables, as well, following the pattern one, two, three, four, one. The most common metrical foot in her twenty-eight published examples is the iamb, though this is not exclusive. Also, in contrast to the Eastern forms upon which she based them, Crapsey always titled her cinquains, effectively utilizing the title as a sixth line.

The Crapsey cinquain has subsequently seen a number of variations by modern amateur poets, including:
Reverse cinquain, a form with a syllabic pattern of two, eight, six, four, two.
Mirror cinquain, a ten-line form consisting of a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain.
Butterfly cinquain, a nine-line syllabic form with the pattern two, four, six, eight, two, eight, six, four, two.
Cinq-cinquain, or crown cinquain, a sequence of five cinquains functioning to construct one larger poem.
Quintiles are multiples of any number of cinquains centered on a common theme.
Garland cinquain, a series of six cinquains in which the last is formed of lines from the preceding five, typically line one from stanza one, line two from stanza two, and so on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinquain

A structure you could use, as in the example above is:

Line 1: 2 syllables, gives the subject of the poem
Line 2: 4 syllables, describes the subject of the poem in a few words
Line 3: 6 syllables, relates to an action or actions that have to do with the
subject
Line 4: 8 syllables, expresses the author’s feelings about the subject
Line 5: 2 syllables, names the subject again but with a different word, or words

Instead of being strict on the syllables, you could just use the line topics as guidelines.

For a lesson plan on cinqains, sample cinquains & a reflections worksheet from 'Read, Write, Think':
http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=43

Try them out with your students.

*******************

It's United Nations Day on 24th October.

"We will be judged in the future on the actions we take today -- on results. On this United Nations Day, let us rededicate ourselves to achieving them."
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
http://www.un.org/events/unday/2007/

For some ideas & material from past Tips:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips58.htm
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips104.htm

Back to the contents

sneezing

The Cold War

The season of colds is arriving in Madrid so the article below would be interesting to use in class. It's a long & fairly dense & technical article & can used per se at more advanced levels. But then there are ways of using it a lower levels by varying the amount of text you use.

The article is organised very nicely with the paragraph headings. Tell the students that they will be looking at an article titled 'The Cold War' & that it is about the common cold, & then get them to storm ideas that might be in the article. They can then compare their ideas with the headings to see if there were any similarities. Then they could discuss what the article might say under the different headings, pooling their world knowledge & getting relevant speaking practice. They tell you their ideas & for low levels, you can simply tell them if they were right or wrong & orally give them the article information, summarising & grading the information. For these lower levels you might only use half of the headings, leaving out the more technical sections. For the higher levels that won't be demotivated by the level of vocabulary, they can read the article to see if their predictions were similar.

Alternatively, there is the article without the headings below. The more advanced group could predict from the title, read quickly with a time limit to see if their ideas are there, & then discuss appropriate headings for each section, or give the headings to match with the appropriate section.

We haven't looked at any language you might get your students to 'notice' after the reading stages. Clearly this depends on the group & the level, so look carefully through the text & choose a couple of points to review/introduce & give some practice at the same time - written consolidation &, if appropriate, some oral practice. If you use the article, exploit it well.

Some vocabulary to attend to while on the theme:
a common cold, colds, a chill, a virus, to fend off a cold, flu, bunged up, congestions, a cough, runny nose, a hacking cough, sneeze, a sick note,,,,,

The theme lends itself to doctor's surgery roleplays. Assign a doctor & sit them apart from the group. The remainder sit together as in a doctor's waiting room & as they wait to see the doctor they talk together. After the have visited the doctor, they re-visit the waiting room & might chat about their visit to the doctor. Give out role cards to each 'patient' - see below. Take notes on language while the rolplay is going on & give feedback afterwards on both the content & the language.

Some say that you can use any text so long as you vary the task. In principle maybe, but in reality difficult texts with simple tasks can be patronising & demotivating. Here we've adapted the amount of text used depending on the level.

Patient - you want to go to the football match this afternoon so you are at the doctor's to get a sick note. You think that having a bad back would be convincing. You don't think this doctor is very good.

Patient - you have got a bad cold & you are convinced it is flu. Visit the doctor & get a prescription. You quite like the doctor although s/he is a bit young & you're not sure s/he has enough experience to accurately diagnose correctly.

Patient - you have nothing better to do & anyway you are a bit of a hypochondriac. Visit the doctor to tell her/him again what is wrong with you.

Doctor - you are fairly new to the surgery. Most of your patients are not ill, or not as ill as they make out. You also get your fair share of work dodgers & you refuse to give sick notes, especially when there's a football match on.

Paragraph headings

Kissing is OK, but wash your hands

Cold viruses are difficult to catch

Some people are more susceptible to catching colds

Men get man flu – and women don't

Stress can cause a cold

There are more colds in winter

There are 200 viruses that cause colds

Feed a cold, starve a fever?

The cause of cold symptoms

The best hope for a treatment

Vitamin c and echinacea

The best remedy for a cold

Cold or flu? How to tell the difference

 

Full article

The cold war

The sneezing season is already upon us – but a little inside knowledge can reduce our chances of being laid low. Professor Ron Eccles explains how to fend off the winter chills

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

This is a golden age for the common cold. Densely populated cities provide ideal breeding grounds for the viruses that readily jump from one continent to another by jet. The average adult gets two to five colds a year. Schoolchildren suffer worst, with seven to 10 colds a year. Young children, with undeveloped immune systems are the most vulnerable and form the main reservoir of infection. Most colds are transmitted at home or school and adults in regular contact with children are most at risk of infection.

Kissing is OK, but wash your hands

As I get older, I take more care to protect myself. I wash my hands a lot and I try not to touch my nose and eyes in public. Your fingers can easily become contaminated with viruses by touching door handles and by shaking hands. You may then touch your nose and eyes and infect yourself. Tears from the eye drain into the nasal cavity, passing viruses into the nose. Hand-washing can reduce the spread of colds within the family. Kissing is OK, though. The virus travels in the respiratory system, so is lodged at the back of the throat. Only if you have a bad cough and some of the respiratory mucus becomes mixed with your saliva is there a risk of the virus being transmitted in a kiss. Cold viruses appear to be spread by large particles expelled at close range by coughs and sneezes. The only guaranteed way to avoid a cold is to become a hermit.

Cold viruses are difficult to catch

Although few of us escape at least a couple of colds each year, common cold viruses are not very contagious. Under laboratory conditions with healthy volunteers, it has proved remarkably difficult to spread infection from one person to another. You are most infective when you have the early symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and cough. The virus replicates in the cells lining the nose and are coughed or sneezed out in droplets of mucus. The virus is also spread on fingers when we contaminate them with secretions from the nose.

Some people are more susceptible to catching colds

I get letters from people saying they never get colds. They probably get the infection but not the symptoms. This is an interesting area of research. There may be genetic differences in our immune systems that make some people more vulnerable. Most viral infections produce no disease – this is the iceberg concept of infection. They do not cause symptoms and pass without notice. Or they may cause minor symptoms such as a throat irritation and a couple of sneezes which are not recognised as a cold. The "stinking colds" that cause severe symptoms represent the tip of the iceberg of infection. Genetic differences in the immune system may explain why the same virus causes severe symptoms in one person and mild or no symptoms in another.

Men get man flu – and women don't

I don't think there is any evidence that men respond more strongly to infection than women. But women's immune systems are different from men's because they have to support a foreign body when pregnant. So it may be that their immune systems are more tolerant. This could be important in a flu pandemic because it could affect its impact. It is obvious that if there are sex differences there could be differences affected by genetic make-up, too.

Stress can cause a cold

The pressure of everyday life can make you more susceptible to infection. Experiments on volunteers show they are more likely to become infected if they have recently suffered problems at work or home. Stress is associated with the suppression of general resistance to infection. It is not clear how it affects the immune system but there appears to be an increase in corticosteroid hormones, which are known to decrease resistance. The increased stress of modern city life may be one of the factors behind the very high incidence of common cold infections in our cities.

There are more colds in winter

As soon as the weather turns cold, I try to keep my nose warm. As winter comes, we put on our overcoats to protect our body temperature but we don't protect our nasal temperature. The nose dries out in low temperatures or in dry air-conditioning and respiratory viruses become trapped and start to reproduce. A study we did in Cardiff showed that when volunteers were chilled by sitting with their feet in icy water for 20 minutes, they were three times more likely to develop a cold in the next five days. We should all wind scarves round our necks and over our noses. I must admit, I am not good at following my own advice because in Cardiff you look like a bandit with a scarf wound round your face. It would be more acceptable in Canada.

There are 200 viruses that cause colds

Even if you have just had a cold you can get another straightaway caused by a different virus. The antibodies you develop against the first cold will only protect you against that virus. There are enough viruses to keep you having a couple of colds each year over a lifetime. Between a third and a half of colds are caused by rhinoviruses. Others are coronaviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus and influenza virus. All the viruses have very similar effects and there is no way of identifying them from the symptoms alone.

Feed a cold, starve a fever?

This old saying is part of folklore. Its origin lies with the fact that any feverish illness is likely to be associated with loss of appetite. Most colds in adults are not associated with fever and so there is not much loss of appetite. It is the release of chemicals from the white blood cells called cytokines that fight infection and cause fever, tiredness and loss of appetite. In general, common cold viruses do not trigger a large response from the white cells but severe cold infections can, like flu, cause a lot of cytokine release and give us the typical flu-like symptoms of fever and tiredness and loss of appetite.

The cause of cold symptoms

When I was a PhD student in the 1970s, I did some work on bradykinin – I demonstrated its presence in nasal secretions from people with colds. The symptoms of a cold – sneezing, coughing, runny or blocked nose – are caused by a complex soup of chemicals triggered by the immune system which act on blood vessels, glands and nervous tissue. They are part of the inflammatory response to infection. Bradykinin, a peptide, is one of these chemicals and has been proposed to play a dominant role in colds. As well as being identified in nasal secretions, if administered to the nose in healthy volunteers it causes nasal congestion and irritation, throat irritation and stimulates nasal secretions.

The best hope for a treatment

There is a lot of interest in developing a medication that would act as a bradykinin antagonist. It would work in the same way as antihistamine against hay fever, reducing the symptoms. But no one has come up with one and it is a long time since bradykinin was discovered. If such a development is to take place, it is likely to come from arthritis research as bradykinin is also implicated in the pain and swelling associated with joint inflammation.

Vitamin c and echinacea

There is no good evidence either can prevent a cold. The Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling popularised the idea of taking daily doses of vitamin C to ward off colds. Sales of the vitamin soared. However, only a very small proportion of the population in the West are likely to have any deficiency of vitamin C and it is unlikely a daily dose will provide any benefit. Echinacea is the most popular preventive treatment for colds and helps to prevent infection by boosting the immune system. It could, in theory, abort a common cold infection and prevent the development of symptoms, but there is no evidence of this.

The best remedy for a cold

Only the immune system can cure a cold. In most cases, it will take four to seven days and will not require any other treatment. If you want relief from severe symptoms, aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are very effective for relieving headache, sinus pain, sore throat and aches and pains. A nasal spray containing xylometazoline or oxyetazoline to clear a blocked nose can be very helpful before sleep. Any hot drink will relieve a cough and sore throat – but standard cough medicines are no better than placebo. Spicy foods and hot soups are also beneficial.

Cold or flu? How to tell the difference

A simple rule of thumb is that genuine flu is characterised by an irresistible, and often sudden, desire to lie down. It is accompanied by fever muscle aches and pains and a general feeling of malaise. It's nasty.

People tend to claim they are suffering from flu to maximise sympathy. If a member of your family tries this, clamp a hand on their forehead and then on your own to check if they have a temperature. Amazingly, you will find they rarely do – compared with colds, flu is uncommon.

The complicating factor is that the symptoms of fever, aches and malaise can also occur with a heavy cold, though this is unusual. In both cases the best treatment is hot drinks, paracetamol and doses of TLC.

Professor Ron Eccles is director of the Common Cold Research Centre at Cardiff University. He was interviewed by Jeremy Laurance

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-
wellbeing/features/how-to-beat-a-cold-953372.html

Article without paragraph headings

The cold war

The sneezing season is already upon us – but a little inside knowledge can reduce our chances of being laid low. Professor Ron Eccles explains how to fend off the winter chills

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

This is a golden age for the common cold. Densely populated cities provide ideal breeding grounds for the viruses that readily jump from one continent to another by jet. The average adult gets two to five colds a year. Schoolchildren suffer worst, with seven to 10 colds a year. Young children, with undeveloped immune systems are the most vulnerable and form the main reservoir of infection. Most colds are transmitted at home or school and adults in regular contact with children are most at risk of infection.

_______________________

As I get older, I take more care to protect myself. I wash my hands a lot and I try not to touch my nose and eyes in public. Your fingers can easily become contaminated with viruses by touching door handles and by shaking hands. You may then touch your nose and eyes and infect yourself. Tears from the eye drain into the nasal cavity, passing viruses into the nose. Hand-washing can reduce the spread of colds within the family. Kissing is OK, though. The virus travels in the respiratory system, so is lodged at the back of the throat. Only if you have a bad cough and some of the respiratory mucus becomes mixed with your saliva is there a risk of the virus being transmitted in a kiss. Cold viruses appear to be spread by large particles expelled at close range by coughs and sneezes. The only guaranteed way to avoid a cold is to become a hermit.

_______________________

Although few of us escape at least a couple of colds each year, common cold viruses are not very contagious. Under laboratory conditions with healthy volunteers, it has proved remarkably difficult to spread infection from one person to another. You are most infective when you have the early symptoms of sneezing, runny nose and cough. The virus replicates in the cells lining the nose and are coughed or sneezed out in droplets of mucus. The virus is also spread on fingers when we contaminate them with secretions from the nose.

_______________________

I get letters from people saying they never get colds. They probably get the infection but not the symptoms. This is an interesting area of research. There may be genetic differences in our immune systems that make some people more vulnerable. Most viral infections produce no disease – this is the iceberg concept of infection. They do not cause symptoms and pass without notice. Or they may cause minor symptoms such as a throat irritation and a couple of sneezes which are not recognised as a cold. The "stinking colds" that cause severe symptoms represent the tip of the iceberg of infection. Genetic differences in the immune system may explain why the same virus causes severe symptoms in one person and mild or no symptoms in another.

_______________________

I don't think there is any evidence that men respond more strongly to infection than women. But women's immune systems are different from men's because they have to support a foreign body when pregnant. So it may be that their immune systems are more tolerant. This could be important in a flu pandemic because it could affect its impact. It is obvious that if there are sex differences there could be differences affected by genetic make-up, too.

_______________________

The pressure of everyday life can make you more susceptible to infection. Experiments on volunteers show they are more likely to become infected if they have recently suffered problems at work or home. Stress is associated with the suppression of general resistance to infection. It is not clear how it affects the immune system but there appears to be an increase in corticosteroid hormones, which are known to decrease resistance. The increased stress of modern city life may be one of the factors behind the very high incidence of common cold infections in our cities.

_______________________

As soon as the weather turns cold, I try to keep my nose warm. As winter comes, we put on our overcoats to protect our body temperature but we don't protect our nasal temperature. The nose dries out in low temperatures or in dry air-conditioning and respiratory viruses become trapped and start to reproduce. A study we did in Cardiff showed that when volunteers were chilled by sitting with their feet in icy water for 20 minutes, they were three times more likely to develop a cold in the next five days. We should all wind scarves round our necks and over our noses. I must admit, I am not good at following my own advice because in Cardiff you look like a bandit with a scarf wound round your face. It would be more acceptable in Canada.

_______________________

Even if you have just had a cold you can get another straightaway caused by a different virus. The antibodies you develop against the first cold will only protect you against that virus. There are enough viruses to keep you having a couple of colds each year over a lifetime. Between a third and a half of colds are caused by rhinoviruses. Others are coronaviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus and influenza virus. All the viruses have very similar effects and there is no way of identifying them from the symptoms alone.

_______________________

This old saying is part of folklore. Its origin lies with the fact that any feverish illness is likely to be associated with loss of appetite. Most colds in adults are not associated with fever and so there is not much loss of appetite. It is the release of chemicals from the white blood cells called cytokines that fight infection and cause fever, tiredness and loss of appetite. In general, common cold viruses do not trigger a large response from the white cells but severe cold infections can, like flu, cause a lot of cytokine release and give us the typical flu-like symptoms of fever and tiredness and loss of appetite.

_______________________

When I was a PhD student in the 1970s, I did some work on bradykinin – I demonstrated its presence in nasal secretions from people with colds. The symptoms of a cold – sneezing, coughing, runny or blocked nose – are caused by a complex soup of chemicals triggered by the immune system which act on blood vessels, glands and nervous tissue. They are part of the inflammatory response to infection. Bradykinin, a peptide, is one of these chemicals and has been proposed to play a dominant role in colds. As well as being identified in nasal secretions, if administered to the nose in healthy volunteers it causes nasal congestion and irritation, throat irritation and stimulates nasal secretions.

_______________________

There is a lot of interest in developing a medication that would act as a bradykinin antagonist. It would work in the same way as antihistamine against hay fever, reducing the symptoms. But no one has come up with one and it is a long time since bradykinin was discovered. If such a development is to take place, it is likely to come from arthritis research as bradykinin is also implicated in the pain and swelling associated with joint inflammation.

_______________________

There is no good evidence either can prevent a cold. The Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling popularised the idea of taking daily doses of vitamin C to ward off colds. Sales of the vitamin soared. However, only a very small proportion of the population in the West are likely to have any deficiency of vitamin C and it is unlikely a daily dose will provide any benefit. Echinacea is the most popular preventive treatment for colds and helps to prevent infection by boosting the immune system. It could, in theory, abort a common cold infection and prevent the development of symptoms, but there is no evidence of this.

_______________________

Only the immune system can cure a cold. In most cases, it will take four to seven days and will not require any other treatment. If you want relief from severe symptoms, aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are very effective for relieving headache, sinus pain, sore throat and aches and pains. A nasal spray containing xylometazoline or oxyetazoline to clear a blocked nose can be very helpful before sleep. Any hot drink will relieve a cough and sore throat – but standard cough medicines are no better than placebo. Spicy foods and hot soups are also beneficial.

_______________________

A simple rule of thumb is that genuine flu is characterised by an irresistible, and often sudden, desire to lie down. It is accompanied by fever muscle aches and pains and a general feeling of malaise. It's nasty.

People tend to claim they are suffering from flu to maximise sympathy. If a member of your family tries this, clamp a hand on their forehead and then on your own to check if they have a temperature. Amazingly, you will find they rarely do – compared with colds, flu is uncommon.

The complicating factor is that the symptoms of fever, aches and malaise can also occur with a heavy cold, though this is unusual. In both cases the best treatment is hot drinks, paracetamol and doses of TLC.

Professor Ron Eccles is director of the Common Cold Research Centre at Cardiff University. He was interviewed by Jeremy Laurance

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