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Colds

Common cold: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

 

What is a cold?

 
A common cold is an illness that impacts the respiratory system. A viral infection of the throat, nose, and upper airways, a cold can be caused by coronaviruses. However, this is just one of the more than 200 viruses that can cause this infection. Once a virus overpowers your body, an infection develops. In order to defend itself, a body produces mucus. The virus penetrates the mucus and takes control of the cell that makes protein. The viruses use this element to create more viruses which attack your cells. For this reason, colds keep recurring. An adult can get seven colds per year while children can become infected 12 times in a year. Antibiotics may not help in speeding up the recovery.
 

Symptoms

 
Symptoms are caused by your body’s reaction to the cold virus and they differ from one person to another. Some people with a very strong immune system may not experience any symptoms at all. Common symptoms of a cold include:
 
colds

  • Cough
  • Dry throat
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Blocked nose

 

Other more rare symptoms are:

 

  • Pink eye
  • Shivering
  • Muscle ache
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion

 
There are a few steps you can utilize to prevent a common cold from spreading. When sneezing or coughing use a tissue. Wash your hands on a regular basis before handling food. You should also use your own set of kitchen utensils. Do not share your towel with a person who has a cold. Additionally, you can take vitamin C as it minimizes your risks of catching a cold.
 

Treatment

 
Colds generally clear up on their own. A cold takes a maximum period of 10 days however; the symptoms can last longer than three weeks. Antibiotics are often ineffective when it comes to treating colds. There is no proven way to treat colds. The measures below can come in handy to ease the symptoms.
 

  • Take plenty of bed rest – you need a lot of rest when your immune system becomes infected with the cold virus
  • Drink plenty of water – your body needs to be hydrated. You will feel worse when you are dehydrated.
  • Take painkillers – taking acetaminophen, aspirin or ibruprofen can help reduce the fever.
  • Gargle salt water
  • Use decongestants – this will help relieve blocked nasal passages

 
You should see a healthcare provider if symptoms are severe, last for more than three weeks, or include breathing difficulties. Babies and the elderly should received professional medical care when symptoms arise to prevent more serious complications.


 
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