Common cold has taken public attention for a long-time. Therefore it mustn’t be any surprise that a lot of myths plagues internet searches
What is the common cold?
The common cold is an upper respiratory infection. It involves structures as the nose and the throat. The most common cause is a virus, but a wide-arrange of viruses could be the basis.
It is the most common acute infection in the United States for children and the general population. An average American adult can get two colds per year. The estimation is that at least half of the population gets it at least once each year.
What causes it?
The common cold infection has many possible viruses prompting it as rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, coxsackievirus, echoviruses, and coronavirus. Nevertheless, the most common by far is the rhinovirus infection.
From the possible cold virus options, each one of them affects different numbers of people and times of the year. For example, the rhinovirus and coronavirus cause more than half of all the cold illness.
Influenza virus, human coronavirus, and the respiratory syncytial virus usually impact in the winter months from November till April of the next year. Adenovirus causes the cold throughout the whole year. And spring and fall are mostly by the rhinovirus. Therefore it is possible to have a common cold the entire year, but the season where the cases go up. It is the rhinovirus season.
What is the difference between the common cold and the flu?
In contrary to the common cold, the flu has a unique virus as a possible cause “The influenza virus.” Even though both of them are a viral infection, the overall flu symptoms bother much more than the common cold’s symptoms. Also, the risk for severe symptoms and complications in a susceptible population is more significant for the people with the flu. Therefore, differentiating among them is crucial for both patients and doctors, foremost in particular groups of people. Luckily, the prevention of the flu is possible, thanks to the flu shot, while the common cold vaccine doesn’t exist.
Maybe you would want to take a look at: The Flu
How can I get the common cold?
The most successful means of transmission of the common cold is through mucus secretions. Usually, people with the cold while touching surfaces or interacting with other people promote the spread of the virus in them. Then, unaware people by reaching their nose or eyes pick up the virus and introduce it inside them.
Different possible routes of infection are inhalation of small airborne particles over a short distance. Therefore. It is essential for maintaining social distance during the common cold.
Given all these mechanisms of transmission, it is usual that close relatives or coworkers acquire the cold if someone nearby has it. Nevertheless, hygiene measures could considerably reduce the risk of infection. These measures include washing your hands (but correctly), avoiding close contact with people, and cleaning nearby surfaces of your use, such as tables or doorknobs.
What is the duration?
The incubation period of a respiratory infection is the time that requires a person to manifest symptoms while already having the virus inside them. This time for the common cold usually lasts from 24 to 72 hours after close contact with people having the virus. The common cold symptoms could length from 3 to 7 days.
What are the cold symptoms?
Now let’s talk a bit of what are the common cold symptoms. The symptoms can vary slightly from mild to moderate symptoms. This variation is in light of the many possible viruses causing the condition. However, the cold symptoms in terms of the most to the less frequent are throat clearing, nasal congestion, runny nose, nasal secretion, dry cough, and postnasal drip.
Usually, all these symptoms sum up to many others as sneezing, sore throat, drowsiness, weakness, dry mouth, fever, and dizziness. Some of them start disappearing first than others; for example, sore throat, sneezing, and drowsiness tend to decrease by day three of the common cold.
Although some symptoms begin to disappear early in this condition, some of them as cough, nasal discharge, postnasal drip, and throat clearing can be present up to 14 days. All these symptoms present in a slow-moving way. If it happens otherwise, suddenly, for example, maybe we’re not dealing with a common cold.
Can I prevent the common cold infection?
Some flu medication for prevention has been used with relative success. The remedies vary depending on if the patient is a child or an adult. Here I would like to only emphasis on medications with scientific evidence in top medical journals.
For children, medication with successful outcomes includes chizukit, nasal irrigation with salt water (saline solution), probiotics, vitamin C, and supplementation with zinc. Chizukit yielded relief for patients between 1 and 7 years. Nasal irrigation for children between 6 to 10 years. Probiotics for children from 3 to 5 years. Vitamin C for children below the 12 years, and zinc supplementation for a wide range of ages, from 1 to sixteen years. Significantly doses of each treatment vary with age. Also, the duration of prevention treatment changes with the type of drug from weeks to months.
For adults, few medications appear helpful for preventing the cold. Religious taking of vitamin C doesn’t reduce the chances of getting the disease, but when the patient is infected, the duration of the symptoms is lesser. Daily use of garlic doesn’t help in the recovery of the illness but appears to reduce the number of cases. Sadly, using garlic as a treatment could have adverse outcomes as lousy odor or skin rash.
Frequently hand-washing was the only factor in association with a reduction of cases. The effectiveness of this action is excellent because it would be easily applicable to a daily basis.
What is the current scientific treatment available for this condition?
The cornerstone of standard cold treatment incorporates rest, sufficient fluid consumption, and no prescription of an antibiotic. No antibiotic is required due to no bacterial infection is happening. Luckily, the treatment focus is on mitigating these bothersome symptoms. It would also vary between children and the adult population. For example, in 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that children below two years should abstain from over-the-counter cold drugs. In fact, cold and cough medications are among the top 20 substances causing decease in children below five years.
Treatment of cold symptoms in children includes many that have proved to be safe and provide some useful results. These medications include acetylcysteine, inhaled steroids in children who are wheezing, honey (buckwheat), nasal irrigation with salty water (saline solution), Umcka Coldcare, vapor rub, and zinc sulfate. Depending upon age, the drug selection and length of treatment would vary. Some of them just need one shot, others many days of treatment.
For the adult population, drug selection for treatment is different. Decongestant treatment as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine with or without antiallergic drugs seems to decrease at the short-term cold symptoms. From the available anticholinergic therapy, only inhaled Atrovent is a recommendation for cold symptoms with a persistent cough. Over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDs) aid in symptoms like headache, and body aches. Alternative medicine with some scientific support includes Kalmcold, Echinacea purpurea, and Umcka Coldcare.
Interestingly, even a warm soup of chicken has been scientifically proven to help diminish the common cold symptoms due to warm vapor rising. The continual aspiration of the warm steam by the ill person provides relief to nose symptoms. Therefore, you would find plenty of options in the pharmacy or at home to deal with this condition.
If you want to know if you have a cold, read this.
Well, there is no problem with that. I happened to elaborate a very-useful the common cold symptoms checker to assess how likely it is that your symptoms indeed are from this disease. It is free and would take only a few minutes.