Knowing the Common Cold

Common Cold is the most frequent among all human infectious diseases. It is very contagious. If a person with a common cold coughs or sneezes, droplets can be sprayed in the air. Thus, anyone can be infected directly. Cold viruses can live for a long time. If an uninfected person’s hand comes in contact with the objects with the virus, and then touches his nose, eyes or mouth, he can catch the cold. Common cold is associated with mild symptoms of runny nose, cough, watery eyes, blocked sinuses, sore throat and sneezing.

Seeing a doctor does not have to be the first option, unless symptoms become severe and uncontrollable. If you develop symptoms of chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and high fever, it would be advisable to see a doctor.

The diagnosis of common cold is so easy and fast. The doctor will not even order for chest x-rays, laboratory tests or blood tests. The physical examination and your presentation of the symptoms would be enough for the doctor to confirm the diagnosis. During the physical examination, your nose, eyes, throat and ears will surely be examined. Auscultation can also be done to verify the presence of phlegm in your air passages.

Until now, no drugs have been proved to kill the viruses that cause the common cold. Antibiotics can only destroy bacteria but not viruses. However, the associated symptoms can be lessened with several household remedies, such as:

Nasal Congestion – For nasal congestion, drinking plenty of fluids will keep you hydrated. Inhalation of steam from a tea kettle of boiling water can help reduce congestion, but be careful as you do this.

Cough – As cough may also be present when air passages are irritated with phlegm, suppressants and expectorants can help.

Sore Throad – For sore throat, lozenges and pastilles can give benefit. Gargle solutions are also available to relieve itchy throat.

Resting – Overall, rest would be the ideal thing to do. Get enough sleep to keep your immune system strong. Only your immune defenses can destroy the virus.

Now that we know what the common cold is and the best ways on how to deal with its associated symptoms, let us keep in mind the following simple ways on how to prevent it:

Hand Washing – Washing your hands frequently will keep viruses away. Use health soaps with germicidal properties. As your hands can come in contact with objects with cold viruses, avoid touching your face and eyes. If possible, wear gloves especially when you are on public places like malls and supermarkets.

Multivitamines – Taking multivitamins is not a guarantee that you will not get a cold, but it can help strengthen your immune system. Vitamin C and zinc were proven to boost the immune response of the body against infection.

The common cold is a common disease with common remedies. We may not have the wonder drug to directly treat it, but we can make the associated symptoms manageable with home remedies, fluid therapy, rest and most importantly, prevention.

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