Randomized trial of advice to avoid colds and flu

Hi All

I’m helping to organize an interesting randomized trial of advice for avoiding colds and flu.  It’s very healthy, and there’s nothing difficult or unpleasant – see below.

If you would like to join the trial please send a message to pprandomtrial@gmail.com saying “yes please, count me in!”

Thank you for your contribution,




At this time of year a lot of us worry about getting a cold – but there may be a solution!  Colds are notoriously hard to cure or inoculate against because they are caused by many different strains of virus – too many for vaccines to be created.

So Penny Post is helping local scientist Patrick Shaw Stewart to test some recommendations (from a study published in The Lancet) for helping your body beat the viruses.

Several different novel methods of avoiding colds and flu will be investigated in the trial. The methods are based on exercise, hygiene and clothing – and involve nothing unpleasant or difficult!  You will NOT be asked to e.g. have cold baths every morning, swim in the sea, or sleep in bed with wet socks at night.

If you decide to join the trial you will be assigned to one of the “arms” of the trial and be sent an email giving you simple advice that you should follow for one week.  It will take an hour or less of your time over the week to follow the advice – which will be very healthy too.

Two weeks later you will be sent a simple self-assessment questionnaire for you to report any symptoms of colds and flu that you may have experienced.  That’s it!

How to Join the Trial

If you would like to join the trial, please send a message to me at pprandomtrial@gmail.com saying that you want to participate.  People of all ages are welcome.  At the end of the trial you will be sent a summary of the methods and results.


The Eurowinter Group. “Cold exposure and winter mortality from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory disease, and all causes in warm and cold regions of Europe.” The Lancet 349.9062 (1997): 1341-1346.

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