Colds and flu

Updated 09 July 2014

How vapour patches work

Patches may be the new cure to ease flu symptoms, so the question is: How do they work?

A scratchy throat, a bleary head and body aches and pains are often the first signs you may be developing a cold or flu. Flu (influenza) and colds are both caused by viruses which infect the nose, throat, sinuses, upper airways and lungs.

They can spread like wildfire when someone with the cold or flu sneezes, coughs or even through hand-to-hand contact. And while symptoms can be treated neither the flu nor a cold can be cured.

One way to ease the discomfort of the symptoms is with vapour patches. They are especially useful for young children as the cold and flu season is a dangerous time for them and can cause complications.

Read: New patch for skin cancer

There aren’t many treatment options for children as many over-the-counter products are not for use on children.

Fortunately vapour patches are not only safe but are also soothing and help children – and adults - get a full night of sleep without the discomfort that sometimes accompany strong medications.

The benefits of vapour patches

The nasal congestion and breathing difficulties associated with cold and flu virus’s makes resting and sleeping near impossible for many people. And since rest is essential to recovery from a cold or the flu, a vapour patch which helps ease breathing and ensures restful sleep is a must-have when you’re sick.

Vapour patches contain essential oils of both eucalyptus and camphor, both of which have been shown to support symptomatic relief of nasal congestion associated with the common cold and flu.

Vapour patches have also been specifically formulated to slowly release the pungent oils for up to eight hours, which is more than enough to ensure you get a decent night’s sleep free of a blocked and stuffy nose.

Read: There's even a patch to help you quit smoking

Other benefits of vapour patches include:

•    Particularly suitable for night time application
•    Convenient and easy to use
•    No systemic absorption contributes to excellent safety profile
•    Does not stain clothes or linen, or irritate skin
•    Also suitable for adults and the elderly.

How to use vapour patches?

Most vapour patches are considered suitable for both adults and children over the age of two.

To use the patch, remove the liner and ensure the patch is placed a safe distance from the face. The patch should not be placed on the skin, but rather on clothing on the chest area.
Most patches have no known side-effects and are safe for use on children over two and for the elderly.

Read more:

Patch may prevent dementia
Diet patches ease fasting
Hormone patch lifts libido


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Ask the Expert

Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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