What is COMMON about the Common Cold?

When the common cold has you in its clutches, it’s not a welcome guest to say the least. Sore throat, sneezing, aching body and runny nose are the infamous signs of a cold.

We all recognize the symptoms. “Tough it out,” and “it will last just a few days,” are not particularly comforting words to us while undergoing the common cold’s punishment.

We are quite aware from past experience, it will only last a week or less but what about those miserable 7days or so? Curl up under a warm blanket, with something hot to drink, turn on a good movie, “feed the cold, starve the fever” … whatever!

The economic impact of the common cold carries quite a punch. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease states, “in the course of a year it is estimated that people in the USA have 1 billion colds,” they go on to note that this “causes about 24 million days of limited activity.”

This illness effects children’s schooling and lost days of work for adults. The stay at home mom or dad is burdened as well; all of their important tasks are curtailed transforming the entire family’s activities to an “on-hold status.”

The causes of the cold may be one of many identified types of viruses or rhinoviruses. These viruses are most active in the beginning of fall and continue into winter. Being exposed to cold weather or getting too hot, are not the causative factors (as many people assume). A more likely rationale is psychological stress, sometimes even the menstrual cycle and allergies. This condition plays a part in irritating the membranes of the nose and throat, which makes one more susceptible to catch a cold.

Fall and winter bring about certain particulars that promote colds. School starts, children are exposed to bacteria and winter means we stay inside our homes more often. Germs will more likely be passed from one person to another. The cold and low humidity in the winter season is drying to the nasal passages, thus inviting the growth of viruses.

After being infected, you will begin to see symptoms of the common cold within 3 or 4 days-breathing that is obstructed by swollen nasal passages, discharge, sneezing, sore throat, headache and cough. Fever can be unsubstantial, however in very small children temperature could elevate up to 102 degrees.

At times, colds result in secondary infections of the middle ear or sinuses. If the fever is high with swollen glands, and if there is facial pain around the area of the sinuses, be sure to visit or call your physician.

Before the deplorable symptoms and resulting infections occur, if may behoove us to consider how these colds are spread.
Common transmissions of the cold virus type are:

* Breathing in minute drops of infectious particles that hang in the air.

* Inhaling larger infectious particles that are in the air, after an infected person has sneezed or coughed.

* Infectious secretions that have been deposited on exteriors such as in tissues, on bathroom surfaces, telephones, the list goes on…consequently are touched and then transferred through the nose mouth or eyes.

Viruses can live up to three hours on objects and skin, a disinfectant cleanser or spray can be used to clean and kill most viruses. Soap and handwashing are the greatest deterrent to the spread of germs, is simple and effective. Those who are infected are advised to use tissue, then throw it away, along with washing their hands right away. They should refrain from spreading germs by coughing or sneezing into the air. It is best to avoid overexposure to those who have colds. Do not be rude, just stay in your space for a few days.

If the common cold has not turned into an infection, only treatment of the symptoms will suffice. Drink plenty of fluids, rest, gargle with warm salt water and use Vaseline to relieve the pain of an irritated nasal passage. Acetaminophen or aspirin will help relieve fever and headache.

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