Common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract caused primarily by rhinovirus. Picornavirus and corona virus can also cause common cold in some cases as well as other 200 plus known viruses. Common cold is highly contagious. Nasal droplets from a person with common colds can spread the virus and infect other people. That's why frequent hand washing and keeping a friendly distance from people with common cold is advised to avoid infection.
Symptoms of common cold
The familiar symptoms of common cold are runny nose, watery eyes, cough, sore throat, sneezing, and nasal congestion. It's also normal for patients to feel a very mild fever or fatigue. Mild headache and body aches are also a common complain among people with common cold. The nasal discharge is very clear and thin at the beginning, which will progress into thick, yellowish to slightly greenish in color before the discharge will disappear.
Difference between common cold and influenza
The symptoms of common cold and influenza are very close so that it's almost difficult to distinguish between the two. But in general, influenza symptoms are more severe than common cold. Influenza infection can manifest as high fever, extreme body malaise, muscle and joint pains, and intense dry cough. The symptoms in common cold are similar but they are a lot milder.
Complications from common cold
In some cases, common cold could complicate into other problems such as acute ear infection, wheezing, and sinusitis. Ear infection can manifest as pain in the inner part of one or both ears, and it may or may not be accompanied by very think yellow or green colored nasal discharge. The fever may also recur with more intensity this time. Children with asthma could also develop wheezing because of common cold. In rare cases, the infection could reach the sinuses causing sinusitis. More serious complications from cold include secondary infections that can result to pneumonia or bronchitis. These complications need doctor's attention and hospitalization to treat.
Treatment of common cold
Because common cold is caused by a virus, it's usually left to run its natural course. The body's immune system is enough to fight common cold in few days. To help your body fight off the infection, bed rest and proper diet with plenty fluid and fruit juices is recommended. If the headache and fever does not bother you so much, it's best if you let it be without taking any pain reliever. An over the counter Tylenol or paracetamol can be taken to relieve headache and fever due to common cold. However, follow proper dosage as these pain relievers pose serious side-effects if taken in excess.
Home remedy for common cold
The age-old home remedy for common cold is always a hot chicken soup. This famous common cold remedy is actually found by doctors to help in decongesting the nasal passages and it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Gargling with warm water with salt can soothe sore throat, and saline nasal drops helps in decongesting the nose. Bed rest and plenty of fluid from fruit juices, tea, and plain water are highly recommended.
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