By Dr Umesh Alegaonkar , General Physician
A common cold is an infection that occurs in the throat and nose. Generally, a lot of viruses are responsible for common cold. Among them, the most common one is ‘rhinovirus’, which accounts for about 10-40 per cent of the infections. Also, other viruses such as parainfluenza virus and the respiratory syntactical virus can also be responsible for common cold. The virus generally spreads by means of contact with the infected person.
The risk of contracting common cold depends on age (children especially are more prone to common cold) and immunity to allergens and viruses. The risks get amplified if you are a smoker because of the fact that smoking weakens the immune system.
Generally, common cold gets cured within a week; but in some cases, the cold might lead to other complications such as ear infections, sinusitis, asthma and pneumonia. Hence, it is advised to not let common cold go untreated because of its apparent mild and harmless nature.
The symptoms generally appear within 2 to 3 days after getting exposed to the virus. They are:
- Persistent coughing, sneezing and fever.
- Mild pain in the body and headaches.
- General body fatigue combined with pain in the throat and a blocked nose.
- Persistent general discomfort.
Kids and Colds
Children have about 5-7 colds per year. A big part of the reason: They spend time at school or in day care centers where they’re in close contact with other kids most of the day. And to top it off, their young immune systems aren’t yet strong enough to fight off colds.
You should consult a doctor if you have repeated instances of high fever which last for more than a week accompanied by severe headaches.
A prescribed dosage of cough syrups, pain relievers are recommended to eradicate the signs and symptoms of common cold.