Common cold

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Overview

Common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that mainly affects nose, throat ,sinuses.It is mainly caused by RHINOVIRUS .

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person, includes

  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • fever
  • sometimes accompanied by muscle ache,fatigue,headache,loss of appetite.

Fever is more common in younger children than adults.They usually resolve in 7 to 10 days, but sometimes people can presents with post viral cough which persists even after infection is gone.

CAUSE:

The most commonly implicated virus is rhinovirus which is a picornavirus. The other viruses are human coronavirus,influenza virus,adenovirus,respiratory syncitial virus,enterovirus,parainfiuenza virus. Most of the time more than one virus are present.

TRANSMISSION:

The virus is typically transmitted by airborne droplets{aerosols}, direct contact with secretions or contaminated objects.the virus can be-carried to nose or eyes by fingers.

It occurs due to poor immunity and poor hygiene . Thats, why it is more frequent in school going children. People are most infectious during early 3 days of symptoms.

Rainy or winter seasons make the people more susceptible to the infection.

SIX TIP TO PREVENT COMMON COLD:

  • frequent hand washing
  • face mask or covering mouth during sneezing
  • proper nutrition and hygiene
  • safe drinking water
  • quarantine and vaccination are ineffective. ZINC supplements are somewhat effective.

TREATMENT:

Gargle with warm water or 2% Betadine solution provide good relief. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses so should not be used. Drinking plenty of water, taking rest are reasonable conservative measures.

Symptomatic treatment include nsaids for pain relief such as ibuprofen,paracetamol for fever,cough medication are not recommended for children. Antihistamines are effective only in first 2 days. Vapour rub provides some relief. avoid physical exercise.

Antibiotics are not effective so should not be misused. No antiviral drug found to be effective against common cold.

Zinc supplements shortens the duration of course .Vit C boost immunity thereby it is also beneficial.garlic may be consumed but its results are unknown.

EPIDEMIOLOGY:

The common cold is most common human disease worldwide. Adults typically have 2 to 4 infection annually and children 6 to 10 cold per year. Rate of symptomatic infections increasing due to fall in immunity. Complications may develop into Otitis media and sinusitis. There are ongoing research on antiviral drugs but nothing has been found effective yet. The economic impact of common cold is not well understood but it accounts for 40% of time lost from work in United States.

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