Common cold, also known as viral rhinitis serves as one of the most common diseases suffered by human beings. This infection is mild and gets better with time. Though it may make one feel bad, the common cold is generally mild illness which goes away on its own, the time required to get out is quick. On an average, the adults get 2 to 4 colds every year and the children face twice of the number.
Causes behind common cold
As you get the common cold, you get infected by one of more than about 200 viruses and these get spread very easily via fluid droplets from sneeze, cold or running nose. The cold viruses generally circulate through touch but can even be inhaled in case they become airborne.
The common cold results into a set of symptoms which are easy to recognize by the patients as well as doctors. Around 50% patients develop sore throat that is generally the very first sign to appear as it can occur just in 10 hours of the infection. This is then followed by nose congestion and sinus, running nose as well as sneezing. Cough and hoarseness can even take place and may be there for a long time than the other symptoms, i.e. for several weeks.
While the cold resolves fast, the symptoms may last for a week or two. But unlike the flu, the signs and symptoms of common cold are mild and do not result in serious health conditions. So, when you have cold, you will experience the symptoms like:
- Running nose
- Mild tiredness
- Slight fever
- Sore throat
- Body ache or headache
Though there are no vaccines or said treatment for treating the common cold, prevention is the best cure. Through some preventive steps, you can keep cold at bay. Here they are:
As cold spreads fast, the best way to prevent is through avoidance. This can be done by staying away from the ones who are sick. Do not use personal items or even utensils of the people who seem to be fit and healthy. Also, when you are suffering from cold, just stay home and avoid spreading it to others.
It is important to practice proper hygiene. Always wash hands using a soap or hand wash. In case your hands are not washed for a while, keep the hands away from eyes, mouth and nose. Cover your nose and mouth while you sneeze or cough and wash hands afterwards. It is even vital to adopt the healthy habits and so include eating fresh fruits and vegetables, sleeping properly, exercising and keeping stress at bay.
Treating common cold
Although therapies can help improve the signs and effects of common cold, they do not actually prevent it. So it is good that you drink much fluid, get rest and treat yourself by keeping your body comfortable. Gargling warm salted water can help soothe sore throat. Further, inhaling steam can improve the nasal congestion to a great extent. The over the counter remedies available which contain decongestant can help dry the secretions and relieve severe congestion. Such remedies may further relieve cough.
The antihistamines can improve signs of watery eyes and running nose however they should be utilized with much care as the over the counter medications cause some sedation. The over the counter cough suppressants also do not give proven benefits however some people feel them to be helpful. Zinc, Echinacea and Vitamin C are helpful when it comes to reducing the likelihood of facing common cold and for shortening the symptoms however no conclusive study has demonstrated this so far.
Thus, having cold is no fun. If you know what all to expect and the ways to treat common cold symptoms, relief is just on its way.