Runny nose and sore throat are the first indications of cold, then it is followed by sudden sneezing and coughing. People would often recover from common colds in about seven to ten days. One can minimize the risk of having a cold by washing hands regularly, never touching the face with dirty hands, and do away with close contact with people who are sick.
Typically, common colds are the culprit that lead adults and children to miss work and school. Every year there are millions of documented cases of common colds. An adult, on average, has two to three colds annually, while kids have even more.
Many individuals tend to get colds in the spring and wintertime, however, it is possible to get colds at any time of the year. Here are the primary symptoms of colds: runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, body aches, and headaches. People who have colds would recuperate in about seven to ten days. But, those with weakened immune systems have respiratory health problems, or asthma can get other severe diseases like pneumonia and or bronchitis.
Common Colds Fast Facts
Here are the fast facts to consider about common colds:
- 50% of the common colds are a result of viruses known as ‘rhinoviruses.’
- Common colds complications can include pneumonia and bronchitis.
- People with asthma or other lung conditions, as well as COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are very susceptible to common colds.
- Common colds signs include runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing.
- About one-fourth of the people infected with common colds are unaware that they have the viruses.
The virus that leads to common colds can spread from those who are infected to other people through the air and via very close personal contact. One can also get infected when one gets a contact of respiratory secretions or stool of the infected individual. It happens when you shake the hands of someone who has colds, touch surfaces such as doors, doorknob, that has come in contact with the viruses.
Minimize getting colds:
- You can minimize getting colds if you do away from touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with your unwashed and stained hands. The virus that can cause colds to enter your body fast and eventually make you feel sick.
- Steer clear from individuals who are ill and have common colds. The ill person can quickly spread the virus through close contact.
- Always keep your hands clean by washing often with water and soap. Wash your hands for approximately twenty to thirty seconds. Teach your kids to do the same. If soap is unavailable, try using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The viruses that can result in colds can live on our hands, so regular hand washing is advised to help protect you from catching a cold and get sick.
Protecting Others From Colds
When you have a cold, you must follow these tips to avoid spreading it to others:
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid very close contact with people who have colds like shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.
- Stay at home whenever you are sick and keep your children out of your home premises.
- Keep sick kids from school or daycare where they can quickly spread the virus.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose.
- When you sneeze or cough in tissue, make sure you throw the fabric immediately.
- Disinfect all the surfaces that are frequently touched by you or a family member infected with common colds like surfaces that are often touched, doorknobs, toys, and other commonly used areas at home.
Remember, there are no vaccines to safeguard you against the viruses of common colds.
How To Recuperate
There is no cure for common colds. To feel better, you have to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydrating, take ample rest, and take your medicines. OTC or over the counter meds can help ease out the symptoms, but it will never make your common cold go away.
Make sure to read through the label and use the meds as advised by your doctor. Ask your doctor before you give your kid any non-prescription medications, as many medicines may contain certain ingredients that are not suitable for kids. Antibiotics will not help you cure your cold of a respiratory virus. They may not work against viruses, and they can make your body immune to bacterial infections if you misuse them. Always ask your doctor for the correct prescription.
Common Cold Causes
Several respiratory viruses lead to the common cold. The most common of them are the rhinoviruses. This kind of illness can trigger asthma and have been closely linked to sinus, ear infections, and other infections. The other viruses that lead to common colds are the adenovirus, human coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, human parainfluenza virus, and metapneumoviruses.
Common Colds vs. Flu – How They Differ?
Flu, which is brought about by the influenza virus, spreads and causes diseases at the same time as common cold would. Since both have very similar signs and symptoms, it can be tough or very impossible to distinguish each from the other based solely on symptoms or signs.
Overall, the fly symptoms can get worse than the cold and can include other symptoms as hay fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, feeling exhausted, and feverish. But, flu can have severe health repercussions. So, an annual flu vaccine is essential to prevent influenza. If you have flu, your recourse is to use anti-viral medications.
Common Cold Risk Factors
Note that some people are more susceptible to getting the cold than the rest, here are some of them:
- Older people
- Children under six years old
- Those with weakened immune systems
Any person who has come near infected individuals may also be at risk, like schools, airplanes, or malls. Moreover, individuals are more likely to get the common cold in the winter or fall season. However, it can occur at any other time of the year.
Common Cold Complications
Catching a common cold is not as easy as it seems, you can be prone to the following complications:
- Pneumonia – Pneumonia happens when the lungs get all inflamed; however, it can be caused by the alveoli in the lungs being filled with fluids. This health complication can lead to viruses or bacteria. But, the common cold does not cause pneumonia. If pneumonia happens as a result of colds, it is caused by bacteria. The physician can prescribe some antibiotics to cure symptoms like cough, fever, chest pains, and other breathing problems.
- Acute Bacterial Sinusitis – Acute Bacterial Sinusitis happens when the sinuses are infected by bacteria. Oral and nasal decongestants may be used to help treat the symptoms, but antibiotics are necessary to help cure the condition and prevent any more infections. When untreated, this can even lead to bacterial meningitis.
- Acute Bronchitis – Acute bronchitis happens when the small tubes or bronchi in the lungs get inflamed as a consequence of viral or bacterial infection. One can only use antibiotics to treat the disease if it is bacterial. But, when it is deemed viral, it is common to treat the symptoms until the problem goes away simply.
People Who Are Predisposed To Common Colds
Here are some of the individuals who can be very susceptible to catching common colds:
- Asthmatic patients – Asthma attacks can be caused by colds, particularly among young children.
- COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease sufferers
People with COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Common colds can aggravate their symptoms from their existing chronic bronchitis or emphysema disease, which can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, and at times the bacterial infection can lead to high fever. When this happens, your doctor can prescribe some antibiotics to cure the condition.
When To See A Doctor?
Call your physician right away if you or your child is suffering from one or more of these:
- Severe symptoms
- Symptoms that last for over ten (10) days
- Unusual symptoms
- The child is three months, or less has a fever and is very lethargic
Call the doctor immediately if you find that you are at high risk for any severe flu problems, and when you have symptoms such as chills, muscles and body aches, and fever. Those that are at high risk for flu can be children who are five years old and younger, adults 65 years old and higher, people with asthma, diabetes, COPD, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and pregnant women. The physician can assess your child or family member and see if they have flu or cold and suggest treatment to help ease their symptoms.