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Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, said it was 'inevitable' it will reach Britain.
He said it could claim as many lives as the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1968, which killed at least one million people.
'But it's also important to be alert to the signs that symptoms could be caused by something more serious.' It's not the cold temperatures that cause colds - but spending more time indoors does play a significant part.Those white spots are colonies of bacteria, just like the ones that are grown in petri dish in laboratories.'A bacterial infection is usually more focused and more painful than a viral infection, although viral infections can still be uncomfortable.A virus will also affect the whole respiratory system and nasal passages, not just the throat.'Mr Mace added: 'In both cases, it is important to stay hydrated as mucus and saliva help protect the throat.'A humidifier will help counteract the drying effect of central heating, or simply drape a damp towel over a radiator, it will have the same effect.There are a number of different numbing agents available in over-the-counter sprays but the most effective is benzocaine, which is found only in Ultra Chloraseptic.It works almost instantly and has an excellent safety profile.'Take paracetamol rather than ibuprofen or aspirin if you have a headache or temperature, he advised.
'It's gentler on the digestive system than aspirin, and there is some evidence that ibuprofen damps down our immune response, which is the last thing you want when you have a cold or sore throat.'I know it sounds obvious, but rest your throat.