Common cold or acute coryza or acute viral rhinopharyngit is is a common infectious disease which is contagious. The common cold is caused by a virus called rhinovirus or cornavirus that cause infection in the upper respiratory system of human. There are more than 200 viruses that affect our body and thus it is really impossible to immune against all these viruses. Thus, this is called as common cold as it doesn’t go completely and return back.
According to a study, children get common cold 12 times in a year whereas adults get it 2-3 times in a year. This common disease is contagious and spread by touching the infected surfaces, from sneezes and air droplets from cough. However, it is contagious only before the symptoms arise.
One can recover from common colds within 10 days or in a week. However, those who smoke may see the symptoms a little longer. In some cases symptoms don’t go then a person has to see the doctor.
Symptoms of a Cold
The symptoms depend on how a person’s body reacts to the virus of cold. The cold virus makes the blood vessels leaks by triggering the chemicals release and thus the mucous glands have to work harder. The symptoms usually persist for few days say 2-3. Moreover, these symptoms are not same in every person and thus vary in each individual. Few symptoms which are common in everyone include:
- Mild headache
- Sore threat
- Dry threat
- Hoarse voice
- Blocked nose
- Low grade fever
A thicker yellow or green color discharge from nose occurs which is not a sign of bacterial infection. However, few signs are rare and not usually seen in a person affected from common cold. These rare symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Extreme exhaustion
- Pink eye
- Reduction in appetite
Surprisingly, not all symptoms are seen and sometimes even no symptoms are noticed in the infected person. This is so because their body reacts differently to the virus. In some cases, secondary bacterial infection is also caused which infects sinuses or ears. This can be easily treated with antibiotics.
Best Cold Treatments
Usually, people take antiviral medications and antibiotics are not as much as effective it seems to treat common cold. Moreover, there is no perfect cure for it but the best cold treatments can relieve the signs and symptoms of common cold.
Pain relievers– if the signs include fever, headache and sore throat then taking some mild pain relievers are effective. Acetaminophen is good for the relief but read the labels to avoid side effects. Take caution while giving medication to teenagers or children usually when giving aspirin.
Nasal sprays– decongestant drops or sprays are commonly used by adults but the prolonged use of such sprays can rebound symptoms. Moreover, such sprays are not good for children aged below 6.
Cough syrups- syrups are considered as ineffective in common cold moreover they are not proven as safe for young children. However, these are found effectives in adults.
Some people also take help of steam to ease the nasal congestion which cause no harm to the infected person.
As there is no right medicine to treat common cold but few can make you feel better. Here are few common products that can give you relief from the running nose.
Medicine for stuffy nose- decongestants is good to reduce swelling of nose and ease the breathing process. Two common types of decongestants for stuffy nose are syrups and sprays. Medicine that ends with a letter D includes decongestants. Phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine is two common products to treat the cold.
Nasal sprays with oxymetazoline give faster relief than syrups or pills. However, its use for more than 2-3 days can make the congestion worse.
However, it is recommended not to take the same time of decongestant simultaneously.
For runny nose, sneezing and water eyes
Chemical called histamines lead to watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose. Chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine are effective in blocking these symptoms.
Dextromethorphan is an effective cough surpressant to get relief from cough however it gives relief for a while only. Moreover, medicine like guaifenesin is powerful expectorants to break the mucus stuck in your airways of chest.
If you see symptoms like fever, sore throat and aches then medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are best.
Best Cold Remedies
Many people try to treat the common cold by home remedies instead of taking medicine. The simple and effective cold remedies no doubt give you some relief. They help you feel better and do daily tasks easily. Here are some cold remedies to get effective relief at home.
- Drink for relief– proper nutrition is important to treat cold. Certain foods can help you in getting rid of cold. Take warm drinks to treat cough and sore throat. It stimulates secretions and salivation and soothes your throat by lubricating it. A hot tea is also a better drink.
- Sleep it off– take as much as you can rest as it will heal your body. It is however difficult to fall asleep in cold but it is important as it give time to your body to fight off infections.
- Adjust humidity or room’s temperature– make sure there is enough warmth in your room. The dry air helps in easing congestion and ease cough as well. So, get a vaporizer or cool mist humidifier. It cleans the air and prevents the growth of molds and bacteria in your room.
- Soothe your throat– take ¼ teaspoon salt in 4 ounce of warm water and prepare a saltwater gargle. Gargle to give a temporarily relief to your sore throat. This home remedy is highly effective in treating cold and it shows positive results.
- Steamy shower– taking a steam shower relaxes your body and moisturizes your nasal passages.
These home remedies are highly effective in treating the common symptoms of cold. However, if the symptoms still persists then go to doctor.