In our lives and busy schedules, our regular day and routines run just fine until the common cold catches us driving us crazy. It disrupts our efficiency and leaves us uncomfortable. It is the most common viral infection in India and more than 10 million cases are found of common cold in India. It spreads very easily, can be managed and cured by self, is self-diagnosable and in general is a short-term issue which gets resolved in a few days.
The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract primarily the nose, throat, sinuses and larynx. It is medically referred to as a viral upper respiratory tract infection. Over 200 virus strains contribute to causing the common cold in which the Rhinovirus plays an important part. Other viruses that can cause colds include coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and parainfluenza. They spread through air by close contact with infected people. An average adult gets about two to three colds per year while that number increases to six to eight in children. These infections occur more commonly during the winters. According to studies and estimates Americans get 1 billion colds per year.
How does a common cold start
It basically starts when a virus finds a place for itself in the lining of your nose or throat. Our immune system then gives out white blood cells to attack the trespasser.If our body has not come into contact with the same strain of virus before the initial attack can fail and then our body has to send in reinforcements. Now our nose and throat start to make a lot of mucus. As almost all our body’s energy is directed at fighting the cold virus our body is left feeling tired and all down and out. One does not get a cold by coming into contact with water. The thing that helps to catch you a cold is extreme tiredness, being under emotional distress and having allergy problems.
Symptoms of the common cold
The symptoms can be seen between one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus. The symptoms include—
1.Runny or stuffy nose.
5.Slight body aches or a mild headache.
8.General feeling of illness (Malaise).
Generally, a common cold is not a very serious problem but you need to consult a doctor,
If for adults–—
1. The fever becomes greater than 101.3F.
2. Fever lasts for five or more days or if it relapses.
3. Shortness of breath.
5. Severe sore throat, headache, or sinus.
And for children–—
1. Fever crosses 100.4F in newborns up to 12 weeks.
2. Rising fever or fever which continues for more than 2 days in a child of any age.
3. Symptoms that worsen or fail to improve.
5. Ear pain.
6. Extreme fussiness.
7. Unusual drowsiness.
8. Lack of appetite.
Tips to stop wheezing
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound made when we breathe. It can be made either when we inhale or exhale. It is caused by the narrowness of the airways and it can be a symptom of a serious disease like asthma. Some remedies for stopping this condition are—
1. Drink warm liquids– Wheezing occurs when mucus develops in our windpipe. It can be solved by drinking hot water, tea, beverages, herbal tea, etc. It helps to melt the mucus thus clearing the passageway of airflow.
2. Honey-Honey has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which prevent infections. The bacteria of cough can be treated by honey quite effectively. It helps to remove phlegm from the bronchial tubes enhancing overall immunity. A teaspoon of honey with a pinch of cinnamon powder can also help in reducing wheezing.
3. Do not smoke-Smoking can also lead to blocked airways and both first and second-hand smoking should be stopped. Smoke from fireplaces, barbecues, and non-tobacco sources also contribute to wheezing.
4. Raw onions-Onions have sulphur content and antimicrobial effect which helps in fighting infections. We should include onion in our diet like in salads or in any way.
5. Mustard Oil Massage-A warm massage with heated mustard oil mixed with camphor can help in blood circulation, clears the respiratory tract.
6. Steam Therapy-Inhaling steam helps in providing relief to blocked airways. It helps in melting phlegm and humidifies the respiratory tract. Take 1 litre of water, boil it and add 1 drop of eucalyptus oil to it. Inhale this steam for ten minutes. It is the most effective way to remove the problem of wheezing very efficiently.
Prevention and effective home remedies for the common cold
There’s no vaccine for the common cold but certain precautions can help slow down the effect and intensity of it—
- Wash your hands—We must frequently wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water. Or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect your stuff—We must clean our entire house, kitchen, or bathroom with disinfectants especially if someone in the family has a cold.
- Use tissues—Sneeze or cough into tissues and discard them right away and wash hands immediately.
- Don’t share-–Do not share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members.
- Steer clear of colds—Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold.
Home remedies for the common cold
If you are looking for a non-medicinal way to cure colds then these ways can be helpful—
1.Vitamin C-Foods rich in vitamin c like oranges, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lychees, chili peppers, thyme, etc.
2. Echinacea–This herb can help to command colds.
3. Zinc lozenges and nasal spray-It too can prove to be helpful.
4. Chicken soup-A hot, steaming chicken soup can work wonders to ease that running nose and give comfort to the sad sore throat.
5. Ginger tea-It proves to be a great respite from cold because the blended ginger of your tea proves doubtlessly to be a super comforting idea to be tried.