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Common Cold - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

No one can be there in this world who does not suffer from cold in his lifetime. Prince or pauper, young or old, strong or weak - all are equal to it. it has no consideration for sex or beauty. It has no pity for the breast-fed babies of exceptional beauty nor for timid weaklings who are afraid of their shadows.

Do you know the longest word in English?

Pneumonoultramicropicsilicovolcanocoinosis ! which means cold.

How does cold spread?

When a man suffering from cold, coughs or sneezes, a shower containing thousands of viruses is shot out into the air. If you breathe in that contaminated air, those viruses get into your body through your nose and, as a result, you catch cold. You are vulnerable especially in congested areas like cinema halls, class rooms and such other places where a number of people assemble.

If you use the towel used by a patient suffering from cold, or shake his hand he used to blow his nose and then rub your eyes or nose .with that hand of yours, well, you will catch cold. Even if you use the pen or telephone used by the patient, there is a chance of you catching cold.

Who will catch cold?

There is no discrimination for cold. It will attack everyone, but more often the school-going children. They will catch cold 10 times a year. When they come of age, it may be 2 or 3 times. The reason why the school-going children get cold so often is that, they get exposed to different types of viruses. Besides, the immune system is not so well developed as to resist the attack of the viruses.

Those who suffer more from cold are:

  • Drink addicts
  • Smokers
  • The old and the weak
  • Patients of bronchitis etc.

How long will it last?

The period varies from person to person and depends upon the type of virus and the immune system of the person. Usually it lasts for 2 to. 5 days. If it is complicated it may continue for 1 to 2 weeks.

Symptoms of common cold

Most varieties that attack are Head Colds, that is, they are confined. to nose and throat.

The first symptom of this type is a small tickling sensation In the nose or throat.

Usually cold manifests itself 1 to 2 days after the attack, beginning with irritation in the nose, indicative of sneezing, then sneezing, running nose, etc. If the bacteria has entered the nose, yellow-colored mucus flows out. Then it is followed by body pains, fever and headache. If the infection has entered through the throat, there may be pain in the throat and chest. a feeling of heaviness in the chest, hoarseness and dry cough. It may be only dry cough at first, but later, it may not allow you to sleep at night properly. You will slowly lose the sense of taste and smell.

Sometimes cold may become serious and the middle ear may get infected, and finally may lead to Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Laryngitis, Tracheitis etc. If there is history of Asthma, Chronic bronchitis, earache, cold may become serious. with such diseases unpleasing. Especially if the cold infects the middle ear, it may lead to Meningitis or Encephalitis and further complications may develop involving the brain and its surroundings, causing vomiting, head­ache and stiff neck.

Treatment to get rid of the cold

  • Vitamin C :- It is not correct to think that Vitamin C, Pencillin and antibiotics cure the cold. Antibiotics can root out the symptom caused by bacteria. They are powerless when the symptom is due to virus, as in the case of cold. Vitamin C functions like a scavenger and throws out all the rubbish-including the virus rubbish. It cannot arrest the spread of cold. but, it reduces the period of cure from 7 days to 2 or 3 days, say the experts in the field. Vitamin C controls sneezing and coughing too. But, it is better to drink orange juice or grape juice than to consume Vitamin C tablets.
  • Food :- Reduce the consumption of fatty substances like milk and meat. Increase the intake of fruit juice and vegetables.
  • Chicken soup :- There is a saying: "eat the chicken and drive out the cold." It appears to be true. One cup of hot chicken soup can uncork your nose and let out the water from it. But, nobody can say whether it is because of the smell or taste of the soup. But, the water running out tram the nose cleanses out body of the viruses.
  • Stop smoking :- Smoking causes the throat to burn. Cold multiplies that burning sensation. The hair within the nose called cilia obstructs the bacteria passing through the nose from getting into the body and the smoke prevents the cilia from fighting with infection. Therefore reduce the number of cigarettes at least, if you cannot completely give it up.
  • Gargling :- Three times a day-morning, noon and evening gargle with salt water. You will get relief. When you are suffering from cold put a teaspoonful of salt in a glass of water and gargle.
  • Brandy cure :- Take 3 teaspoonful of Brandy mixed with hot water or 1/2 glass of wine before you go to bed. That will give you some relief.
  • Steam treatment :- This is also quite a common controlling step. Put some Vicks in a bowl of boiling water, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam through your nose. Your stuffy nose will become decongested and clear.
  • Apply Vaseline to nose :- Your running nose will finally lead to a rupture (crack) around your nostrils as you blowout again and again. Apply Petroleum jelly or Vaseline to the wound. The pain will be reduced.

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