The Common Cold
Common cold is the simple viral infection of upper respiratory tract. It usually occurs in cold season. People of all age groups are vulnerable to this but usually children less than 6 years, older and immunocompromised are more affected. Human Rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus and adenoviruses are the common viruses causing common cold. Symptoms are usually runny and stuffed nose, sore throat, loss of sense of smell, sneezing and coughing, mild to moderate fever. Common cold is usually a self-limiting disease and usually cures within one to two weeks, but it may persist in some cases. If in case symptoms persist or exaggerate such as high-grade fever, difficulty in breathing, one must not neglect it and see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis of common cold is usually clinical and use of laboratory tests is not needed if there is no complication.
There is no specific treatment for common cold. Only symptomatic treatment is given to control the symptoms and curb the spread. Over the counter drugs are usually prescribed such as ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol for relieving pain. Nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline, mometasone furoate, suphedrin or pseudoephedrine to relieve nasal obstruction. Cough syrups such as dextromethorphan diphenhydramine, guaifenesin, phenylephrine pheniramine to soothe the irritated throat and relieve cough. These medicines when combined with home remedies and alternative medicines such as vitamin C and zinc, boost the immune response and help in rapid recovery.
Common home remedies include getting some good sleep, consuming healthy and high fibre diet. Gargling with warm saline water is very effective against irritated throat. Steam with menthol crystals or chewing menthol candies is good against sore throat. Warm chicken soup or broth is quite nutritious and soothing. Use of a humidifier and setting up room temperature at optimal is good to control the symptoms. Make sure to maintain a good personal hygiene, cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing to prevent its spread.
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