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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:272189. doi: 10.1155/2015/272189. Epub 2015 Sep 2.

Self-Care Practices for Common Colds by Primary Care Patients: Study Protocol of a European Multicenter Survey-The COCO Study.

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Institute for General Medicine, Essen University Hospital, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstraße 55, 45147 Essen, Germany.
Department of Family Medicine and Department of Nephrology, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Vodnjanska Street 17, Skopje, Macedonia.
Department of General Practice, University of Strasbourg, 2a rue de Brantôme, 67100 Strasbourg, France.
Centre for Public Health and Healthcare, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
SNAMID, Italian Society of General Practitioners and ASL Roma B, Via Tuscolana, 859 Rome, Italy.
Department of Family Medicine, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Skłodowskiej-Curie 9, 85-094 Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Department of Family Medicine, Ibni Sina Hospital, Ankara University School of Medicine, Samanpazarı, 06100 Ankara, Turkey.
Department of Family Medicine, University of Pamukkale, PAU Tip Fakultesi, Aile Hekimligi AD, Kinikli Kampus, Denizli, Turkey.
Blekinge Centre of Competence and Lyckeby Primary Health Care Centre, Källevägen 12, 37162 Lyckeby, Sweden.
Family Medicine Department, Dışkapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital, Irfan Basbug Caddesi, Dışkapı, 06110 Ankara, Turkey.
Department of General Practice, University of Tampere, Lääkärikatu 1, 33014 Tampere, Finland.
Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Centre for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.
Departments of Family Medicine and Medical Education, Saklar Medical School, Tel Aviv University, 8 Gordon Street, 76291 Rehovot, Israel.
Department of Family Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Poljanski Nasip 58, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
EOXI Vigo, University of Vigo, Calle Zaragoza, Vigo, 36203 Pontevedra, Spain.
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Terzioğlu Campus, 17100 Çanakkale, Turkey.
Department of General Practice and Family Medicine, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, 1st Floor, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
Department of Family Medicine, Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey.
Medical Faculty Tuzla, Family Medicine Department and Health Center Tuzla, Department for General/Family Medicine, Marsala Tita 199, 75000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Self-care for common colds is frequent, yet little is known about the spectrum, regional differences, and potential risks of self-care practices in patients from various European regions.


We describe the study protocol for a cross-sectional survey in 27 primary care centers from 14 European countries. At all sites, 120 consecutive adult patients, who visit their general practitioner for any reason, filled in a self-administered 27-item questionnaire. This addresses patients' self-care practices for common colds. Separately, the subjective level of discomfort when having a common cold, knowing about the diseases' self-limited nature, and medical and sociodemographic data are requested. Additionally, physicians are surveyed on their use of and recommendations for self-care practices. We are interested in investigating which self-care practices for common colds are used, whether the number of self-care practices used is influenced by knowledge about the self-limited nature of the disease, and the subjective level of discomfort when having a cold and to identify potential adverse interactions with chronic physician-prescribed medications. Further factors that will be considered are, for example, demographic characteristics, chronic conditions, and sources of information for self-care practices. All descriptive and analytical statistics will be performed on the pooled dataset and stratified by country and site.


To our knowledge, COCO is the first European survey on the use of self-care practices for common colds. The study will provide new insight into patients' and general practitioners' self-care measures for common colds across Europe.

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