Common cold is a universal illness that will not spare anyone young and old, male and female, black or white. It is a simple illness yet it has the power to make you feel so bad that you end up being debilitated. What is a common cold really?
Common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system caused by microorganisms called rhinoviruses or coronaviruses. It is a highly infectious disease because it spreads easily and when an illness is viral in nature it means they are self limiting, which means they do not have any cure.
Yes, you read it right; it does not have any cure. This is because viruses have their designated life span and when they reach their peak two things happen, they either spread or they die.
Common cold is characterized by sore throat, runny nose or clogged nose, teary eyes, headache, loss of appetite and sometimes fever.
It initially begins when your body defenses are up as is seen when you sneeze, this is the body’s way of getting rid of bacteria, virus and foreign objects.
However, if your immune system is weak, and you do not become successful in getting rid of the virus, the next thing you know is you already have a cold.
So what should you do since it does not have a cure? Do you just suffer with the symptoms and do not take any medication? The objective of management is for you to minimize the symptoms so a conservative treatment should include pain relievers and antipyretics for the fever. Since it is caused by a virus and is self limiting, it is only your own body defenses that will help cure it.
To do this you must get enough rest and sleep, drink lots of water to replace water lost due to fever, you may also gargle with salt solution using warm water to soothe your sore throat and you may have to modify your sleeping position by placing 2 pillows instead of one to aid you in breathing.
If you do this you increase your chances of early recovery. How about antibiotics and antivirals? The truth is they do not help either, unless the doctor is suspecting a bacterial infection as well, otherwise you will not have any need for it.
The symptoms of cold usually resolve in 7-10 days, but, the challenge here is how to prevent it from spreading. The rule of thumb is to isolate the sick person and inform the caretakers to always do hand washing. From the end of the sick person, you must remember that when sneezing or coughing you should cover your mouth and nose.