Viral respiratory infection and inflammation that is confused with the flu very often. Learn the risk factors and ways to treat and prevent this common yet dreaded infection

COMMON COLD

(Viral Rhinitis)

DEFINITION

The common cold is an infection and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (nasal passages and throat).

CAUSES

There are over 200 different viruses known to be responsible for the common cold, including:

·    Rhinovirus

·    Corona virus

·   Adenovirus

·    Coxsackie virus

·   Paramyxovirus

·   Parainfluenza virus

·   Respiratory syncytial virus

RISK FACTORS

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

·    Personal history of allergies

·   Smoking cigarettes or frequent exposure to cigarette smoke

·   Stress

·    Sex: Female (especially around menstrual periods)

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms include:

·    Sore or scratchy throat

·   Stuffy nose

·    Thin mucus discharge from the nose (runny nose)

·   Sneezing

·   Itchy, stuffed sensation in the ears

·   Watery eyes

·    Slight cough

·    Headache

·    Aches and pains

·    Decreased energy

·    Low-grade fever

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and the findings of the physical exam.

TREATMENT

There are no treatments that cure the common cold. However, a number of treatments can help relieve the symptoms, including:

PAIN RELIEVERS

Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen can be used to treat the aches and pains.

Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving a child aspirin.

DECONGESTANTS

Pills or nasal sprays can shrink the nasal passages and decrease mucus production. Nasal sprays should only be used for 2-3 days, however. If you use them for longer periods of time, when you stop using them you may suffer from increased congestion (called rebound congestion).

FLUIDS

Drinks lots of fluids. Hot beverages and chicken soup are particularly soothing, and help reduce congestion.

HUMIDIFIER

A cool mist humidifier can help keep your nasal passages moist and reduce congestion. Be sure to clean the humidifier thoroughly every day.

SALINE NOSE DROPS

Nose drops may provide relief from congestion.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C may shorten the duration of a cold.

SALT WATER GARGLE

Gargling with warm salt water can help relieve a sore throat.

OVER-THE-COUNTER COUGH DROPS

Using throat lozenges every couple of hours can help relieve sore throat and cough.

Acupuncture

PREVENTION

The most important way to prevent getting or spreading a cold is by washing your hands carefully. Sometimes it will not be possible to prevent getting a cold. Although many people think that taking high doses of vitamin C can reduce the chance of catching a cold, research has not proven this.

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