A bacterial infection of the nose and throat (upper respiratory tract) is a common cold. Typically, it’s harmless, but it might not sound that way. A common cold can be caused by many types of viruses.
Children under the age of 6 are most at risk for colds, but healthy adults should also expect to experience two to three colds per year.
Common cold symptoms typically occur one to three days after exposure to a virus that causes a cold. Signs and symptoms that can vary from individual to individual can include:
As a common cold runs its course, the discharge from your nose could become thicker and yellow or green in colour. This isn’t a sign of infection by bacteria.
Initially, the common cold and the flu may appear quite similar. Indeed, they are both respiratory disorders and can cause symptoms that are identical. However, these two conditions are caused by different viruses, and the symptoms will eventually help you distinguish between the two.
Some common symptoms are shared by both a cold and the flu. Individuals with either disease often experience:
Flu symptoms are, as a rule, more severe than cold symptoms.
How serious they are is another distinct distinction between the two. Extra health problems or concerns are rarely caused by colds. However, the flu can lead to infections of the sinuses and ears, pneumonia, and sepsis.
You need to see a doctor to decide if the symptoms are from a cold or from the flu. Your doctor will conduct tests to help decide what is causing the symptoms.
You would also only need to treat your symptoms if your doctor diagnoses a flu, before the virus has had a chance to go through its path. Using over-the-counter ( OTC) cold drugs, keeping hydrated, and having plenty of rest may be part of these treatments.
A trip to the doctor’s office is rarely needed to diagnose a cold. In order to diagnose yourself, knowing the signs of a cold is always all you need. Of course, you will need to see your doctor if the symptoms intensify or continue after about a week. In reality, you may display signs of another problem, such as the flu or strep throat.
You should expect the virus to work its way out in about a week to 10 days if you have a cold. This virus may take the same period of time to disappear completely if you have the flu, but if you find symptoms getting worse after day five, or if they haven’t vanished in a week, you might have another condition.
Having the doctor perform a series of tests is the best way to definitively determine if the symptoms are the result of a cold or flu. A diagnosis only makes you ensure that you pay more attention to your recovery, since the signs and treatments for a cold and the flu are somewhat similar.
While a common cold can be caused by many types of viruses, rhinoviruses are the most common culprit.
Through your mouth , eyes or nose, a cold virus enters your body. When someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or speaks, the virus will spread by droplets in the air.
It also spreads with someone who has a cold or by exchanging infected items, such as utensils, towels, toys or telephones, by hand-to-hand touch. You are likely to catch a cold if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure.
For grown-ups, seek medical treatment if you have:
In general, for kids, your child does not need to see the doctor for a common cold. But seek urgent medical attention if your child has any of the following:
Colds are very minor, but they are painful, and they can definitely be miserable. You can’t have a flu-like vaccine to prevent colds. But during the cold season, you can do some key things to help you keep one of the viruses from picking up.
Here are four cold prevention tips:
Have your hands clean. The best way to avoid the spread of germs is with old-fashioned soap and water. When you can’t get to a sink, use only antibacterial gels and sprays as a last resort.
Take care of the bowels. Eat plenty of foods high in bacteria, such as yoghurt, or take a daily probiotic supplement. Keeping your population of gut bacteria safe will improve your overall health.
Stop people who’re sick. This is why sick people do not come to work or school for the number one reason. Sharing germs in close quarters, such as offices or classrooms, is very convenient. Go out of your way to stop them if you notice someone isn’t feeling well. After getting in touch with them, make sure to wash your face.
Get your cough wrapped. Similarly, don’t keep infecting people around you if you feel sick. With a tissue or cough, cover your cough and sneeze onto your elbow so that you do not spray germs into your surroundings.
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