What is a Common Cold?
Individuals become sick with the common cold when they are infected with a virus, which is most often the rhinovirus. Additional cold viruses include the respiratory syncytial virus and the parainfluenza virus. These viruses are contagious and individuals will become infected when they come into contact with a surface that contains germs from an infected person. The germs can also infect a person as they travel through the air as the result of a cough or sneeze.
What are the Symptoms of a Common Cold?
Individuals will notice the symptoms of a common cold in about three days after the cold virus enters their system. The symptoms usually disappear in about a week to ten days, but it is not uncommon to have cold symptoms for as long as two weeks.
Ordinary cold symptoms include mucous drainage from the nose, sneezing, sore throat, body aches and nasal congestion. Sometimes a person’s lymph nodes around their ears and neck will also swell when they have a cold. Coughing is also a frequent cold symptom and if a person begins coughing up blood or foul-smelling green mucous they should visit a medical professional.
Common Cold Causes
A virus causes the common cold, and of the viruses that are usually involved the rhinovirus is most common. Germs are transported through contact with someone who is infected, or touching a contaminated surface. The cold virus also becomes airborne when someone sneezes or coughs through water droplets in the air, making it feasible for you to inhale the germs.
Due to the fact that the body never develops a resistance to the 200 copies of cold viruses that exist, our immune systems are always at risk. Young children are more sensitive to this infection too, since their immune systems are still evolving and building immunity to viruses.
Being tired or under emotional stress weakens our immune systems, making us more vulnerable to the common cold. As the germs attach to the lining of the throat or nose, they begin their assault against the body’s white blood cells.
Colds are short-term infections, which may be the reason so many new strains develop causing repetitive episodes. As the virus moves from one person to another, it mutates, producing a new strand of the virus. It is a strong defence strategy that allows the virus to infect our body over and over again.
How is a Common Cold Treated?
A cold will have to run its course, but there are home treatments that can make individuals feel better and lessen their cold symptoms.
Lots of rest, as much as 12 hours of sleep every night, will help a person who has a common cold. Staying hydrated by drinking water is also important for people who have a cold. Taking drugstore medications, such as a decongestant, will help to alleviate a stuffy nose and a pain reliever can aid in relieving an achy body. Individuals who have a sore throat can often minimize the pain when they gargle with a warm water and salt mixture.
Common Cold Prevention
There is no remedy or prevention method for the common cold. There are however precautions you can take to block the virus from spreading. Pay attention when you’re in a large group, as someone may be ill, in which case it’s more important than ever to practice good hygiene.
Personal hygiene is the best method of prevention. Whether you’re in the office or at home, wash your hands when coming into contact with others. It is difficult at home when you have younger children, but if you clean the surfaces constantly and have lots of tissues available for wiping running noses or protecting a cough, this will go some way to ensure that others are not infected.
A healthy lifestyle and proper diet keeps your immune system working better so it can fight and protect you against the next cold virus, so endeavouring to live healthily is perhaps the best prevention method against the common cold.