An infection mainly occurring in nose and throat. Common colds are caused by viruses and generally take 2 to 5 days to recover. The viruses that cause common colds are very dangerous and are spread by simple fine spray from sneezes and coughs. Coughing is a reflex action that can be caused by many irritants. Although it can be an indication of more illness such as pneumonia, usually is due to upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) infection.
Often people talk of “having a flu” when they are actually suffering from a cold. They are both caused by viruses. However, the flu, influenza is a serious illness that can result in death. The flu starts suddenly with a higher fever and you would feel so unwell. The onset of a cold, however, is more gradually and symptoms are normally restricted to just your throat and nose.
Usually, you will have a runny nose and weepy eyes. Some peoples also cough, sneeze and suffer from sore throats. More commonly, you would feel generally unwell and in slightly more severe cases, you may a headache, fever o even lose your voice. Coughs that are associated with colds are harmless and you should be mindful to see whether it progresses to be longer than a week and if feel unwell it’s time to see your doctor.
– Take preventive measures – always wash your hands with soap and water
– Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with your hand.
– Always cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
– Use tissues rather than handkerchiefs and throw them away after use
– Avoid sharing utensil such as cups, cutlery and other personal items.
– Avoid contact with other cold sufferers.
When your symptoms get worse. If you suffer from other health conditions such as asthma or diabetes that worsen during a cold. It is also advised that you consult your doctor if the symptoms come on suddenly, are severe or last longer than usual.
See doctor if:
– Temperature exceed 38.5 degree Celsius (38 for children)
– Severe headaches
– Hurting eyes.
– Chest pain
– Shortness of breath, noisy or fast breathing
– Skin rash
– Pale or mottled skin.
– Difficulty waking up or drowsiness.
– Persistent cough.
– Aching muscles.
Immediately (seriously) see your doctor if your baby develops:
Bulging of the fontanel (soft spot on the top of a baby’s head)
– High temperature
– Strange high pitched cry
– Lack of energy
– Loss of appetite
It is very important to remember that antibiotics only help in infections caused by bacteria. They have no effects on viruses. Hence antibiotics do not help with colds. You have to allow your immune system to fight the viruses. Beside that, antibiotics do not help with any of the cold and cough symptoms either. They do not stop your condition from getting worse and also do not stop you from spreading the viruses to other people. Very importantly, the use of antibiotics when you do not need them makes them less effective when you eventually do need antibiotics for a bacterial infection. This also increases resistance to antibiotics in the community. Use of antibiotics can also cause unwanted side effects such as stomach discomfort, diarrhea, fungal infections such as thrush and all allergic reactions. It usually suffices to get adequate rest and use symptomatic treatments.