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More information on Colds and Flu's

What are colds?

A cold is a mild viral infection involving the nose and respiratory passages, but it often spares the lungs. Colds can also affect your ears, nose and throat (ENT). Most people usually suffer from colds in winter and rainy seasons, but it can occur all year-round. This is the reason why schools and companies have so much absenteeism during these seasons.

A cold is a highly contagious infection; one person may spread a virus to multiple people in an instant. A child picks up a cold from school and then passes it to the parents, and the parents pass it to the colleagues. It seems to be a never ending circle; that is why there are more than 1 billion cases of colds per year reported in the U.S. alone.

Symptoms of colds

Symptoms of a cold are very similar to those of other typical upper respiratory infections. If you or your child matches about six of the following, you might have a cold:

  • A runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • A sore throat
  • A cough
  • A headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Coughing
  • Muscle aches
  • Watery eyes
  • Tender glands in your neck
  • Aches and pains
  • Cough
  • Nasal and sinus blockage

Although these are common symptoms of a cold you don't need to panic and go spend hundreds of dollars, you can do as much as the doctor can do for you when you have these symptoms.

Tips for relieving colds

A cold can be relieved at home. But it's always advisable to see a qualified health practitioner if symptoms persist. Certain measures you can take at home to reduce the severity and frequency of a cold includes:

  • Spend most time indoors (at home) and get adequate rest (especially while you have a fever)
  • Stop smoking. Also, secondhand smoke may worsen you or your child's condition. Avoid it as much as you can.
  • Reduce alcohol intake (alcohol may irritate your mucous membrane and the windpipe, causing hoarseness in your voice)
  • Don't take antibiotics (they kill bacteria not viruses and viruses cause colds not bacteria)
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water (drink at least 8 glasses a day). Sports drinks, fruit drinks, or ginger ale, fruit juices and clear soups, especially chicken soup can help loosen mucus, break up your congestion, prevent dehydration and keep your throat moist.
  • Gargle with warm salt water a few times a day. Don't swallow the salty water to avoid further irritation (relieve a sore throat and the pain)
  • Use saline (salt water) nose drops (they help loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose)
  • Take hot showers and inhale steam to loosen your mucus flow (ease your congestion and drippy nose)
  • Honey and lemon hot drink may also be helpful in soothing the throat tissues and tonsils.
  • Take lots of vitamin, especially Vitamin C (ascorbic acid which helps to prevent and fight off colds)
  • Throat lozenges, gargles and throat sprays (soothe the sore throat)
  • Wash your hands with water and soap as frequent as possible. Also wash your child's toys more often to avoid viruses from multiplying.

And according to scientists in Spain, drink one glass of red wine a day, to keep cold at bay.

Serious symptoms in children

The following symptoms are to be taken seriously. If you have them you need to contact your doctor immediately as they may cause serious complications, such as death.

These symptoms are likely to occur in children:

  • High temperature (above 102°F) or prolonged fever
  • A cold that lasts for more than 10 days
  • Changes in mental state (such as not waking up, irritability or seizures)
  • Worsening of chronic medical condition (such as diabetes or heart disease)
  • Trouble breathing, fast breathing or wheezing
  • Bluish skin color

Serious symptoms in adults

If an adult has any of the following symptoms, there's probably a serious complication that might require hospitalization or emergency medical attention:

  • High temperature (above 102°F) or prolonged fever
  • A cold that lasts for more than 10 days
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fainting or feeling like you are about to faint
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Hoarseness
  • Shaking chills and profuse sweating

Causes of a cold

A cold is a viral infection. Once you get exposed to any virus especially the rhinovirus type (pronounced: rye-no-ver sus), you are likely to catch a cold.

Besides rhinovirus, there are over 200 other viruses that may cause a cold. Other less common cold viruses include:

  • Coronavirusa
  • Adenovirus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Arbovirus
  • Hantavirus
  • Viroids

A cold is one of the most contagious diseases ever known. When someone who has a cold sneezes or coughs and mucus droplets float in the air, you might catch a cold if you inhale them. Breathing in these droplets can spread a cold from one person to another.

You can also catch a cold if you touch your eyes or nose after handling something with a cold virus on it. The typical transmission occurs when a cold sufferer rubs his or her nose and then, shortly thereafter, shakes hands with someone who, in turn, touches his or her own nose or eyes.

What does cold have to do with Sinusitis?

When you're suffering from a cold, you take several measures to eliminate its effects. Unfortunately, some of the measures you take, like using nasal sprays and decongestants, may help reduce cold symptoms, but at the same time irritate your mucous membranes. When your mucous membranes become inflamed, the infection spreads to the sinuses, producing Sinusitis.

Sinusitis is the inflammation of those hollow air cavities in your nose that function to filter and moisten the air you breathe. When these cavities become inflamed, certain symptoms similar to those of a cold may show up. You might have a runny nose, fatigue or hayfever etc.

Fortunately we have developed remedies to take care of such symptoms.


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