The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper airways including the nose, voice box, throat, windpipes and the lungs. Common cold, a routine complaint is of viral origin. There are more than two hundred viruses that can cause colds and are commonly known as rhinoviruses or the nose viruses.. The symptoms of common cold include sneezing, a scratchy throat, a stuffy nose, coughing, etc.
Common cold is mostly occurs in children because they are often in close contact with each other in day care centres and schools. Common cold is also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection.
Causes of Common Cold
Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses that are in invisible droplets in the air we breathe or on things we touch. More than 100 different rhinoviruses can infiltrate the protective lining of the nose and throat, triggering an immune system reaction that can cause a throat sore and headache, and make it hard to breathe through the nose.
•Common cold mostly spread by hand-to-hand contact. If a person with cold touches his/her nose and then touches some other person, then the virus transferred to other person.
•The virus of common cold can be available on some objects such as pens, books, and coffee cups for several hours and can be acquired from touching these objects.
•Coughing and sneezing spread the common cold very easily, infact this is very poor mechanisms for spreading a cold.
Signs & Symptoms of Common Cold
These symptoms vary according to the virus involved. However general symptoms are:
Cough and hoarseness
In some individuals there may be unpleasant nasal discharge, headache and slight temperature.
Cold symptoms can last from 3 to 10 days, but like most people recover in a week. Colds occasionally can lead to bacterial infections of middle ear or sinuses, requiring treatment with antibiotics.
Diagnosis of Common Cold
There is no specific test to diagnose common cold. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms reported and the physical examination made by your health care provider.
There is no cure for it. It is relieved naturally with in a week. The cold is treated by attempting to relieve its symptoms such as headache, stuffy nose and congestion. Paracetamol tablets are generally taken to get relief from these symptoms.
Some ways you can help ease cold discomfort include:
•saltwater drops in the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion (you can buy these — also called saline nose drops — at any pharmacy)
•a cool-mist humidifier to increase air moisture
•petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose to soothe rawness
•hard candy or cough drops to relieve sore throat (for kids older than 3 years)
•a warm bath or heating pad to soothe aches and pains
•steam from a hot shower to help your child breathe more easily
Cold symptoms usually appear 2 or 3 days after exposure to a source of infection. Most colds clear up within 1 week, but some last for as long as 2 weeks.
Because so many viruses cause them, there isn't a vaccine that can protect against catching colds. But to help prevent them, There are several ways you can keep yourself from getting a cold or passing one on to others.
• Cold virus present on hands can easily enter through eyes and nose. So, wash the hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after blowing noses
• Avoid close contact with people who have colds
• Not pick up other people's used tissues
• Cover your nose or mouth while sneezing or coughing
• Not use the same towels or eating utensils as someone who has a cold. They also shouldn't drink from the same glass, can, or bottle as anyone else — you never know who might be about to come down with a cold and is already spreading the virus.
Researchers aren't sure whether taking extra zinc or vitamin C can limit how long cold symptoms last or how severe they become, but large doses taken every day can cause negative side effects.
These play a key role in management of cold. These are:
• Black tea prepared with black pepper powder, dry ginger powder and tulsi leaves. This tea can be taken 3 to 4 times a day to get relief from runny nose, headache, and sore throat. It as good as aspirin or paracetamol tablets.
• Lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C. Take 1/2 lime and 1 tsp of honey in hot water. Honey helps to soothe the sore throat thus relieve irritant cough.
• Steam inhalation with few eucalyptus oil drops will help to relieve a stuffed nose. This can be done two to three times a day.
• Eat one amla twice a day. It is a rich source of vitamin C and strengthens the respiratory immunity.
• Garlic and onion soup is an excellent remedy for cold. Garlic have anti viral and anti bacterial properties.
• A tablespoon of ajwain crushed in the palms and tied up in a thin kerchief and can be used for inhalation to relieve nasal block. This can be used for small children also. This tied bundle can be kept on the pillow whil
• Another simple home remedy is milk and turmeric. Add half tsp pure turmeric powder to a cup of hot milk; add some sugar and drink thrice a day will it have relief. Inhalation of turmeric powder added to water and boiled is also a good remedy for cold.
• Drink plenty of water to combat dehydration and keep mucus on the move.
When to Call the Doctor
Your doctor won't be able to identify the specific virus causing cold symptoms, but can examine your child's throat and ears and take a throat culture to make sure the symptoms aren't from another condition that may need specific treatment.
Also call the doctor if your child has any of these symptoms:
• coughing up a lot of mucus
• Shortness of breath
• Unusual lethargy/tiredness
• Inability to keep food or liquids down or poor fluid intake
• increasing headache or facial or throat pain
• Severely painful sore throat that interferes with swallowing
• Fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.3° Celsius) or higher, or a fever of 101° Fahrenheit (38.0° Celsius) or higher that lasts for more than a day
• Chest or stomach pain
• Swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
Do’s & Don’ts
· Chicken soup reduces the reproduction of virus that causes cold. If this is taken, cold may not be intense.
· Drink plenty of fluids like water, fruit juices, etc.
· Most colds clear up on their own week, after which the infection spreads to the sinuses, ears, lungs etc., which is when you must consult your doctor.
· Finally keep yourself warm and take plenty of rest.
· Diet tips
· Potatoes, brinzal, curd and cold water should be avoided.
· Supportive measures like hot fomentation, gentle massage and warm water should be practised to derive maximum benefits.