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COMMON COLD - Dangerously Infectious



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Contents :-



Common Cold


What is the common cold, and its causes?

The common cold, also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection, is a contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. Because of the great number of viruses that can cause a cold and because new cold viruses develop, the body never builds up resistance against all of them.

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For this reason, colds are a frequent and recurring problem. In fact, on average, preschool children have nine colds a year, those in kindergarten, 12 colds a year; and adolescents and adults, seven colds per year.

What are the Symptoms of the Common Cold?

Symptoms of a common cold include nasal stuffiness and drainage, sore throat, hoarseness, cough, and perhaps a fever and headache. Many people with a cold feel tired and achy. These symptoms typically last from three to 10 days.

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How is the Common Cold Spread?

The common cold is spread mostly by hand-to-hand contact. For example, a person with a cold blows or touches his or her nose and then touches someone else who then becomes infected with the virus.

Additionally, the cold virus can live on objects such as pens, books, and coffee cups for several hours and can be acquired from such objects. While common sense would suggest that coughing and sneezing spread the common cold, these are actually very poor mechanisms for spreading a cold.

Does it have anything to do with exposure to cold weather?

Going out into the cold weather has no effect on the spread of a cold. The reason that there appears to be a relationship is that people spend more time indoors during the cold winter weather.

In fact, however, it is the proximity to other people rather than the temperature outside that seems to be the culprit. For this same reason, children in daycare or kindergarten are particularly prone to having colds.

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Are antibiotics a suitable treatment for the common cold?

No. Antibiotics play no role in treating the common cold. Antibiotics only work against illnesses caused by bacteria and colds are caused by viruses. Not only do antibiotics not help, but they can also cause allergic reactions that may be fatal (1:40,000).

Further, using antibiotics when they are not necessary has led to the growth of several strains of common bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics (including one that commonly causes ear infections in children). For these and other reasons, it is important to limit the use of antibiotics to situations in which they are necessary.

Sometimes, an infection with bacteria can follow the cold virus. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics.

Are there any home remedies for the common cold?

The major home impact that we can have on the common cold is hand washing. Hand washing has clearly been shown to prevent the spread of colds. This can be particularly effective in public places and is recommended before meals.

While there is news about treating the common cold with zinc, this is still not considered to be confirmed by adequate scientific research. Its benefits remain unproven.

Vitamin C has been considered to reduce the duration of symptoms from a common cold. Medical research has not supported this. Several treatments that can ease the symptoms associated with a common cold also exist. Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed and others), and nasal sprays (Afrin and others) can help reduce symptoms.

People with heart disease, poorly controlled high blood pressure, or other illness should contact their physician or other health-care practitioner prior to using these medications. Additionally, over-the-counter nasal sprays should not be used for more than three days because the nose can become dependent on them and a worse stuffy nose will result when they are discontinued.

Antihistamines (Benadryl and others) may help reduce nasal drainage. Only those antihistamines that can also cause drowsiness seem to work. Again, the elderly or those individuals with other health problems (such as prostate trouble or constipation) should contact their health-care practitioner before using these medications.

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When should a doctor or other health-care practitioner be consulted?

If you have tried the over-the-counter remedies without any success, several prescription medications are available for nasal stuffiness and cough (for example, benzonatate for cough).

If you have a sore throat with fever and no cold symptoms, you should be seen by your doctor. This type of sore throat is more likely to be a Strep throat or other potentially serious illness.

Finally, if you notice facial pain, tooth pain, or yellow drainage from your nose accompanied by a fever, it is possible that you have an infection of the nasal passages (sinusitis) or a dental infection that would benefit from a medical evaluation and a course of antibiotics.

Common Cold At A Glance

• Common colds are caused by viruses.

• Going out into the cold weather has no effect on the spread of a cold.

• Antibiotics do not help the common cold.

• There are effective home remedies for the common cold.

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