Usually confused with the flu, the common cold is one of the most common viral infections throughout our lives. It is produced by the contagion of a virus that usually affects the respiratory system with very annoying symptoms but among which, unlike the flu, neither fever nor body pain is generally manifested. This condition is very present in seasonal changes in which temperatures drop, common in autumn and winter. Despite the discomfort it produces, some solutions can help relieve it and promote our recovery effectively; that is why at FastlyHealwe explain the symptoms, treatment, and care of the common cold.
How is a cold spread?
Surely you have noticed that when someone in your environment catches a cold, one by one, everyone falls with this condition. This occurs because the common cold is usually caused by the contagion of the rhinovirus virus, which is transmitted through the tiny particles of saliva expelled when someone infected sneezes or coughs, but also by coming into contact with objects infected by this virus, such as toys or personal items.
Although colds can occur throughout the year, they are most common during the fall, winter, or rainy season. It is essential to make it clear that, although popular belief says otherwise, colds are not spread by not dressing appropriately, nor by sleeping in a cool place or walking with wet hair in the street on a cold day.
This condition is contagious during the first 2 to 4 days after symptoms appear, after which time the possibility of contagion decreases dramatically.
What are the symptoms of a cold
Unlike the flu, the infection that causes the cold usually produces symptoms only in the respiratory system, and fever symptoms rarely occur, although, in the case of young children, they may appear. Symptoms of this condition appear between 2 and 3 days after infection and usually last a week, although some people can manifest this condition for up to two weeks.
The most common symptoms of the common cold are:
- Nasal congestion.
- Normally watery nasal secretions.
- Throat discomfort.
- In some cases, a headache and fever may occur.
You should know that the common cold is not treated with antibiotics as it is not a bacterial infection but a viral one. In cases where a headache or fever occurs, over-the-counter antipyretics such as paracetamol, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen are the best alternative to reduce this type of discomfort.
You can also take some measures to reduce the intensity of this condition’s main symptoms effectively.
For nasal congestion
The best thing to do is to apply a nasal decongestant that allows you to breathe better and helps eliminate the runny nose. Although you can buy a commercially available product, making a saline solution at home and in a few minutes is also possible. You only need:
- 1 cup bottled water
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- A pinch of baking soda
Heat the water and add the salt and bicarbonate, stir very well so that these ingredients are diluted, and, when the mixture is warm, pour into a nasal spray or a dropper and apply the liquid in your nostrils, you will notice immediate relief. You can use it 3 or 4 times a day to relieve discomfort.
In the case of dry cough, it is best to use appropriate syrups to treat this condition, which will relieve discomfort and reduce irritation in the throat. When it comes to coughing up mucus, it is recommended to opt for solutions that facilitate the expulsion of phlegm from the lungs; some good alternatives are:
- As the steam is produced in this environment, a hot bath or shower facilitates the expulsion of mucus and relieves discomfort. You can take two baths a day of this type to combat this condition.
- Eucalyptus water fumes are a great option too. Bring a pot of water to boil and add several eucalyptus leaves; when it reaches the boiling point, remove it from the heat and carefully take the bank to a table. Sit in front of it, surround your head with a towel and breathe for 10 minutes the vapors that the hot water releases; you will see how you begin to expel the mucus more easily.
To breathe better
It is recommended to install a humidifier in the room or common areas of the home; this will moisten the environment and promote adequate breathing.
Care when we have colds
It is also essential to take into account some precautions when we have colds that will help us recover more quickly and prevent this condition from spreading; that is why it is recommended:
- Get adequate rest, as this is important to promote a quick recovery.
- It is recommended to drink enough liquid, water, hot infusions, broths, and watery fruits will help to expel mucus more efficiently and improve our condition.
- It is essential to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze to avoid infecting others. In the same way, it is recommended that you wash your hands well before touching any surface and that when using tissues to blow your nose, dispose of them immediately to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Hot drinks can be comforting and improve our condition.
- It is recommended to avoid very sudden changes in temperature and tobacco or its smoke.
When to go to the doctor
On many occasions, colds can be complicated, or, what at first seemed like a cold can be another condition, so it is recommended to go to the doctor when:
- The intensity of the symptoms has not diminished in a week.
- There are many difficulties in breathing.
- The headache is severe, or the fever is very high and persistent.
- The sore throat is severe, making it difficult even to swallow.
- Other symptoms such as earache or stomach pain occur.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Common cold: symptoms, treatment and care, we recommend that you enter our Ear, nose and throat category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.