The common cold is a viral infection of nose and throat (upper respiratory tract infection), caused by several families of virus. The virus family that is responsible for up to 40 percent of colds is called rhino-virus and it has over 100 distinct virus types. It is a self-limited contagious disease. Usually, they are not harmless, but they do not feel so. The common cold is the most frequently occurring disease in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually. Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. If symptoms don’t improve, see your doctor.
SYMPTOMS OF COMMON COLD
When a cold strikes, the symptoms typically begin two or three days after exposure to cold-causing virus. Over half of patients start by developing a sore throat followed by congestion in the sinuses and the nose, sneezing and a runny nose. These symptoms are usually accompanied by fever, cough, and hoarseness which may outlast them sometimes by a few weeks. High fevers, are however, rare from common cold alone. Signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person, might include:
- stuffy nose or nasal drainage,
- sore or scratchy throat,
- watery eyes,
- low-grade fever,
- general fatigue,
- decreased appetite
- post-nasal drip
The signs and symptoms of common cold in infants and adults are almost similar, but there can be some other signs that will let you know if its getting worse.
- Fever greater than 101.3 F (38.5 C)
- Fever lasting five days or more or returning after a fever-free period
- Shortness of breath
- Severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain
- Fever of 100.4 F (38 C) in newborns up to 12 weeks
- Rising fever or fever lasting more than two days in a child of any age
- Symptoms that worsen or fail to improve
- Severe symptoms, such as headache or cough
- Ear pain
- Extreme fussiness
- Unusual drowsiness
- Lack of appetite
CAUSES OF COMMON COLD
Common cold can be caused by many viruses. Around 50 percent of colds are caused by rhinoviruses, other cold-causing viruses include:
- human parainfluenza virus
- Human metapneumovirus
- coronaviruses adenovirus
- human respiratory syncytial virus
The common cold is spread when you inhale virus particles from an infected person’s sneeze, cough, speech, or loose particles from when they wipe their nose. You can also pick up the virus by touching a contaminated surface that an infected individual has touched. Common areas include doorknobs, telephones, children’s toys, and towels.
There are various risk factors that can increase your chances of having common cold which are:
- Weakened Immune system
COMPLICATIONS DUE TO COMMON COLD
Common cold generally runs without any complication but if in any case, it spreads to the chest, sinuses or ears, then it can lead to many complications such as:
- Ear infection
- Chest infection
- Strep throat
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLD AND FLU
At the initial stage, common cold and flu are similar. Even though the symptoms are similar for both the cases. They are indeed both respiratory illnesses and can cause similar symptoms. However, different viruses cause these two conditions, and your symptoms will gradually help you differentiate between the two.
FIRST DIFFERENCE: Flu has more severe symptoms than common cold. Colds rarely cause additional health conditions or problems. The flu, however, can lead to sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and sepsis.
SECOND DIFFERENCE: Cold can be treated by several medications such as over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications, or by staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest. Whereas flu can be benefited from taking an OTC flu medicine early in the virus’ cycle. Rest and hydration are also very beneficial for people with the flu. Much like the common cold, the flu just needs time to work its way through your body.
TREATING COMMON COLD
It is important to realize that both antibiotics and antiviral medications are ineffective against most viruses that cause the common cold. A cold normally lasts up to 10 days; however, some symptoms can stay as long as 3 weeks.
Although there is no real way of treating or curing a common cold, the following measures may help ease the symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids and keep well hydrated, being dehydrated when infected with a cold can make symptoms worse.
- Get plenty of bed rest; it is important to get as much sleep/rest as possible while the immune system is fighting off the virus.
- Take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen to relieve headache or fever. Do not give aspirin to children under 16.
- Some people find that inhaling steam helps ease the symptoms of nasal congestion.
PREVENTING COMMON COLD
There is no specific treatment for common cold, not even a vaccine for it. There are various ways by which you can prevent or treat common cold. The main precautions that can be taken during common cold are:
- Avoid close contact with someone infected with a cold.
- Eat plenty of vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables to help keep the immune system strong.
- When sneezing or coughing, make sure it is done into a tissue. Discard the tissue carefully and wash your hands.
- If you sneeze into your hands, make sure you wash them with soap and water immediately.
- If you have no tissues or a handkerchief, cough into the inside (crook) of your elbow rather than your hands.
- Wash your hands regularly; cold viruses can be transmitted from one person to another by touch.
- Keep surfaces in your home clean — especially in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and mouth.
FOOD YOU SHOULD EAT WHEN YOU HAVE COLD?
When you are unwell, you may not like any food, but it is necessary to take proper meals to energize yourself. The food items you should eat during cold are:
- Chicken noodle soup
- Hot tea
- Gargling with salt water
- Food rich in vitamin C
RELATED: Know about Allergies.
You can consult the best physician at Radix Healthcare in order to help you cure cold.