All the Known Facts About the Common Cold

All the Known Facts About the Common Cold

During the fall or early spring, you might have experienced a scratchy throat, runny nose, and sneezing that never seems to stop. The signs of the common cold are difficult to miss. Yet, for most people, it is a mystery and, at times, an enigma that hasn’t been solved yet.

It is the most common infectious disease known to man and is one of the reasons why you would find your way to an emergency room near you at least once every year.

The common cold is relatively harmless to most people around the world, but it has a more vital socio-economic impact. Close to 40% of people miss work, and around 30% of the students miss school because of the common cold.

Let us uncover the mystery that shrouds many minds concerning the common cold.

Understanding the Common Cold

It can be challenging for many people to differentiate between the common cold and flu. At times, allergies tend to get thrown in the mix, especially if they are persistent. 

The first important thing to note is that the common cold is not caused by cold weather. It is a viral infection that is caused by rhinoviruses. Other than rhinoviruses, coronavirus, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and parainfluenza can also cause colds.

Rhinoviruses account for up to 50% of the infection. This is why, at times, it is known as infectious rhinitis.

You can get a cold up to three times a year, and children can get it even 12 times a year. The reason is that there are over 200 viruses that can cause colds, and the body is incapable of building up the resistance against all of the viruses. No wonder during the fall, you are looking for an emergency room near you.

It is a self-limiting condition that can only last so long, and it will disappear on its own. 

Transmission

Common colds are a contagious infection that is transmitted from person to person. You will get a cold when you come into contact with someone’s hands that are contaminated with nasal secretions.

The virus can live on the skin for at least two hours, which means if you shake someone’s hand and they happen to be infected, then you touch your nose, eyes, or mouth, then the virus will be transmitted to you.

It can also be transmitted through touching infected surfaces such as door handles, countertops, or even phones. The virus can survive on such surfaces for several hours.

Another way that the virus is transmitted is through inhaling droplets that contain the viral particles. If a person has a cold and breathes, sneezes, or coughs into the air, and you are standing a few feet away, you will easily get infected.

It is believed that cold or wet weather can cause a cold, but it is not true. But some things can increase the risk of you getting infected, such as allergies with throat and nose symptoms, if you are under emotional distress or exhausted. Although there are viruses that cause more colds during the cold seasons.

Symptoms

Common cold symptoms and flu symptoms are usually mistaken, and at times people mistake the two thinking it is the same thing. Common cold symptoms are different from flu symptoms and a bit milder.

Here are some of the nasal symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Sinus pressure
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery nasal secretions

The head symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes

Here are some of the whole body symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Chills Low-grade fever (not always)
  • Chest discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing deeply

These symptoms will start to show two or three days after infection. It might take close to a week for the symptoms to clear, at times longer.

Treatment and Management

Currently, there is no way to kill the virus; hence there is no cure for the disease. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and not viruses. Since there’s no cure available, you can only combine medication and coping strategies to improve the symptoms. 

Coping strategies are:

  • Plenty of bed rest for two days.
  • Stay warm and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Gargling warm salty water can help with sore throats.

You can visit our 24-hour medical care facility to get medications such as:

  • Nasal decongestants
  • Cough suppressants
  • Expectorants
  • Antihistamines
  • Pain medications

The symptoms might last a maximum of 10 days, if the symptoms linger longer make your way to our Express ER in Harker Heights, TX, to avoid complications associated with common colds.

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