Swedes get colds often
Swedes get colds more frequently and for longer periods of time than in the past. According to research, the most important reason is the fact that more children are in daycare. “We have children in daycare for longer periods and the children bring home a lot of viruses. Compared to the 1960s, it’s a huge difference,” says Björn Olsen, professor of infectious diseases at Akademiska Sjukhuset in Uppsala. A report from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden) shows that 12 percent of 1- to 6-year-olds had some sort of public childcare in 1972; the percentage for 2009 was 86. And the length of time people are sick has also changed. According to Previa, a health company, the most common reason to call in sick was for having a cold. Eva Maria Fenyö, professor of immunology at Lund University, sees nothing odd that daycare centers are germ centers as well. Whenever a lot of people are gathered it means there’s a risk of virus. The easiest way to protect yourself is to wash your hands and not touch your face around mouth, nose and eyes. “It’s interesting that when the so-called swine flu was all over the place, there was a clear focus on washing hands and using hand sanitizers, and that’s when there was also a dip in the common cold,” Fenyö says.