Common Cold is a self-limiting illness from which virtually all people recover in a few days. Although the common cold is usually mild, with symptoms lasting one to two weeks, it is a leading cause of visits to the doctor and of school and job absenteeism! Consultant Physician, Dr.G.Ravichandran talks about this very common illness.
About Common Cold:
The common Cold is a viral infection of the upper air passage which causes inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nose and throat. The patient recovers easily from common cold and becomes immune from it. There are more than 200 different cold viruses against which one must build immunity. This is why children who have not developed immunity to many of the virus develop common cold easily may be up to 10 times a year. The cold virus spreads by sneezing, coughing or by direct contact. The symptoms are a sore throat, huskiness of voice, congested or a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, headache, body ache, malaise and mild fever with chills.
Spread of infection:
1.The infection may spread to the voice box- laryngitis, to the lower air passage- trachaeitis and bronchitis, to the middle ear, otitis media, to the air filled surrounding spaces surrounding the nose ( sinus)- sinusitis.
2.Secondary bacterial infection.
3. Aggravation of pre -existing respiratory problems like asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic ear infection etc.
4. Reactivation of the virus that causes ‘cold sore’ herpes simplex lesions around the lips and nose occurring in clusters.
- Take adequate rest. Stop all exercises.
- Drink plenty of fluids especially hot fluids.
- Inhale steam to ease expulsion of mucus and to relieve nasal congestion. Nasal decongestants may be taken for a few days only.
- Blow your nose gently blocking one nostril at a time and dispose of the tissues to prevent the spread of infection.
- Do not smoke.
- Consult a doctor if symptoms persist for more than a week or if it worsens or complications begin to set in.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet and have regular exercises.
Also read: How to prevent childhood obesity
Myths about Common Cold:
Becoming cold or chilled leads to catching a cold.
Drinking milk causes increased nasal mucus during a cold.
You should feed a cold (and starve a fever).
P.S All these myths have been proven wrong scientifically !!
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