Children to trial solution to common colds

Children from Edinburgh and the Lothians are to trial a potential treatment for the common cold – using a simple saltwater solution as nose drops.

Previous research has shown that the homemade remedy can help reduce symptoms of a cold in adults. Now researchers want to check if it works for young children.

The team are looking for children who are under seven-years-old to take part in the study for one cold only.

Mild symptoms

The common cold can be caused by many different viruses. On average, children under seven will catch around six to 12 colds in a year.

Most of the time, symptoms are mild. Rarely, they can lead to more serious lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis. They can also cause a worsening in symptoms of asthma.

Children are welcome to join up before they have a cold and start the intervention when they next catch one.

Families will be required to keep a diary and collect five nose swabs during one cold.


Families will be compensated for any travel and parking costs incurred if they visit the children’s hospital for the study. Children will be given a goodie bag for taking part. Once they have completed the study they will receive a £30 online voucher.

The Edinburgh and Lothian Virus Intervention Study for Kids – or ELVIS Kids - study is led by the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian with funding from the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office.

To find out more and join the study, visit or call or text 07973 657457.

Findings from our research with adults suggest the misery of a cold could be reduced by applying sea salt solution, a simple and cheap remedy that can be prepared at home. We now need families to sign up so that we can check if the treatment works for children.

Dr Sandeep RamalingamHonorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and Consultant Virologist at NHS Lothian

Related links

Study at Edinburgh Medical School

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