A comprehensive list of today's common ailments and health conditions.
By Angela Young
While the common cold may be, well, common there are a number of different symptoms and even treatments to consider. By definition, a cold is a group of symptoms in the upper respiratory tract that can be caused by any one of hundreds of different viruses. Of these over 200 viruses the common cold is generally caused by the rhinovirus, the cause of 10% to 40% of colds. The coronaviruses cause about 20% of colds and RSV is responsible for about 10% off colds.
Most common colds are mild, though some may require a visit to the
doctor. According to the CDC Americans suffer from 1 billion colds each year
causing 22 million missed school days annually across the country.
Some of the symptoms we’ve already mentioned, such as a runny nose and itchy, sore throat, but there are others to be aware of. These other symptoms include nasal congestions, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes and mucus drainage. Other more severe symptoms include muscle aches and fever. These may actually be symptoms of the flu.
A common cold is contagious and can be contracted by coming in contact with the secretions of an infected person. Such as when someone close to you sneezes into the air. You can also contract the virus by touching keyboards, door knobs, and other frequently used areas and then touching your nose and mouth.
A cold starts when the virus gets into the lining of your nose or throat. Your immune system dispatches white blood cells to attack the virus. If the initial attack fails, more cells are sent to attack. This is common because of the wide variety of strains it can be difficult for your immune system to figure out the right offense the first time. As your body fights it produces extra mucus and your nose and throat get inflamed. You also feel tired and run down because your body’s energy is being used to fight.
While, it’s a myth that you can get sick from the cold and rain, being cold and wet do make you more susceptible to catch the cold virus. This is also true if you are continuously stressed, tired, have allergies or other nose and throat symptoms.
Diagnosing the common cold doesn’t generally require a doctor’s visit. If you’re suffering from the symptoms we’ve discussed you have a cold. If you develop a fever or other flu-like symptoms you may be progressing past the point of a cold.
If your cold symptoms continue more than 12 days or your infant has a prolonged cold you need to go in and see your healthcare provider. A few signs you need to do this include sore throat or fever with no other symptoms, wheezing or difficulty breathing or asthma you should call your doctor. These could be symptoms of something more serious going on than a common cold.
There are many different treatment options for the common cold. Though none are a cure, the can help you find relief with the symptoms you’re experiencing. Over-the-counter medications can include liquid, capsules or gels to help relieve headache, congestion, body ache, runny or stuffy nose and a sore throat.
If you’re not finding relief of your symptoms through over-the-counter medications, contact your doctor as there are some prescription cold medications available. Again these do not cure the cold but can help with the symptoms so you are more comfortable and able to sleep.
Because your immune system is occupied fighting the cold virus it’s more susceptible to other germs. Some cold symptoms may progress into other things. This can include the flu, ear infections, sinus infections and more.
The key to surviving the cold season is to try and stay ahead of it. Wash your hands frequently and try to avoid those who have the cold. If you do some down with the cold virus, find some comfort in symptom relief and rest. Plenty of fluids and rest are the best way for your body to fight the virus off and get you back to your 100% self.
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