A cold is an infection of the airways, especially the throat, nose and sinuses. Most colds are accompanied by a runny nose, cough, sore throat and a headache. It can cause a runny and stuffy nose and a sore throat. A cold can sometimes hold on for a few weeks. There are no medicines to prevent it. However, there are several products available from chemists and pharmacies for getting rid of this disease faster.
If you have a chronic cold, it may indicate a reduced resistance, an allergy or an asthmatic condition. When there are other symptoms, such as a persistent fever of 5 days or longer, it is better to ask a doctor for advice.
What causes colds?
Colds are caused by a virus and are highly infectious. The cold virus can be transmitted through the air (coughing, sneezing) or by skin contact (shaking hands, kissing). It is easily transmitted in places where many people are close together and where the fresh air is limited. Think of a crowded train or bus or a well-stocked classroom.
The period from infection until the first symptoms arises from 2 to 3 days. Colds often start with a sore throat. This is usually followed by sneezing, coughing, headache and runny nose.
But what exactly happens inside your body? A cold virus causes inflammation of the mucosa, causing a decrease of the protective effect of the membrane. The inflamed mucous membrane swells and produces a lot of mucus. This will cause a stuffy and runny nose. Because the inflammation irritates the mucous membrane, it causes tickling. This will result in a sneeze in the nose and a cough in the throat. A sore throat can be caused by an inflammation of the throat and hoarseness by mucosal inflammation of the vocal cords.
Especially if your resistance is low, the cold virus can easily get a hold over you. Because the resistance of small children is not yet fully developed, they have more colds than adults. Also, elderly and sick people have more colds due to a low resistance. You can get a better resistance from:
• No smoking
• Move a lot
• Healthy eating and drinking
• Go out every day
What are the symptoms?
Cold symptoms include: a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, Coughing, a sore throat, headache and a loss of smell and taste. Adults have colds from 2 to 5 times a year and children have colds from 6 to 10 times a year. The symptoms usually occur 2-3 days after infection with the cold virus. A cold is not the same as the flu. If you have a cold you may feel feverish, but a real flu often begins suddenly and has more symptoms such as chills, fever and muscle aches.
Treatment of colds
There are no medicines to prevent a cold. Also, you don’t have to go to the doctor for a cold. This is only required if a cold has other symptoms such as:
• shortness of breath
• long lasting fever (longer than five days) or recurrent fever.
Do you have a cold right now? Don’t worry; it will probably go away in a few days.