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Common cold is mostly occurs in children because they are often in close contact with each other in daycare centers and schools. Common cold is also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection. It is a contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. On an average the following points has came out:

  • Adolescents and adults got seven colds per year
  • Adults got two to four colds per year
  • Kids in kindergarten got 12 colds a year
  • Preschool children have nine colds a year
  • Women especially aged between 20 to 30 years, have more colds than men
  • People older than 60 have less than one cold a year

Seasonal changes in relative humidity also may affect the prevalence of colds. The most common cold-causing viruses survive better when humidity is low-the colder months of the year.

Causes of Common Cold
There is also no evidence that your chances of getting a cold are related to factors such as exercise, diet, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. It is also not proven that a person can get a cold from exposure to cold weather or from getting chilled or overheated.

  • Common cold mostly spread by hand-to-hand contact. If a person with cold touches his/her nose and then touches some other person, then the virus transferred to other person.
  • The virus of common cold can be available on some objects such as pens, books, and coffee cups for several hours and can be acquired from touching these objects.
  • Coughing and sneezing spread the common cold very easily, infact this is very poor mechanisms for spreading a cold.

On the contrary, medical research have suggests that psychological stress and allergic diseases affecting your nose or throat may have an impact on getting infected by cold viruses.

Signs & Symptoms of Common Cold
Many people with a cold feel tired and achy. These symptoms typically last from three to 10 days. Symptoms of a common cold include

  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing through nose
  • Headache
  • Hoarseness
  • Mucus buildup in nose
  • Nasal stuffiness and drainage
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of sinuses
  • High Fever (102 degrees Fahrenheit)

Cold symptoms can last from 3 to 10 days, but like most people recover in a week. Colds occasionally can lead to bacterial infections of middle ear or sinuses, requiring treatment with antibiotics.

Diagnosis of Common Cold
There is no specific test to diagnose common cold. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms reported and the physical examination made by your health care provider.

Preventions of Common Cold
There are several ways you can keep yourself from getting a cold or passing one on to others.

  • Cold virus present on hands can easily enter through eyes and nose. So, keep your hands away from those areas of your body
  • Avoid close contact with people who have colds
  • Avoid being close to uninfected people, if you have cold
  • Cover your nose or mouth while sneezing or coughing
  • Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water
  • Cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant might help prevent spread of infection.

Treatments of Common Cold
Sometimes, an infection with bacteria can follow the cold virus. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. But antibiotics play no role in treating the common cold. Antibiotics only work against illnesses caused by bacteria and colds are caused by viruses.

There is no cure for the common cold, but you can get relief from your cold symptoms by

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Gargling with warm salt water
  • Getting proper bed rest
  • Taking aspirin or acetaminophen-Tylenol
  • Using petroleum jelly for a raw nose
  • Inhaling steam may temporarily relieve symptoms of congestion

Vitamin C has been considered to reduce the duration of symptoms from a common cold. Medical research has not supported this. While there is news about treating the common cold with zinc, this is still not considered to be confirmed by adequate scientific research. Its benefits remain unproven.

Home remedies for Common Cold
The major home remedy that a person should have on the common cold is hand washing. Hand washing has clearly been shown to prevent the spread of common cold. This can be particularly effective in public places and is recommended before meals.

Several treatments that can ease the symptoms associated with a common cold also exist.

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help with the muscle aches.
  • Antihistamines may help reduce nasal drainage. Only those antihistamines that can also cause drowsiness seem to work.
  • Cough can be controlled with cough syrups containing dextromethorphan.
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Nasal sprays can help reduce symptoms. Nasal sprays should not be used for more than three days because then the nose can become dependent on them and a worse stuffy nose will result when they are discontinued.
  • Stay in a moist environment
  • Use throat lozenges for sore throat

When to seek Medical Advice
Your doctor won't be able to identify the specific virus causing cold symptoms, but can examine your child's throat and ears and take a throat culture to make sure the symptoms aren't from another condition that may need specific treatment.

  • Swollen glands, severe sinus pain, cough that produces mucus may indicate a complication or more serious illness requiring a visit to your healthcare provider.
  • If you have a sore throat with fever and no cold symptoms, you should be seen by your doctor because this type of sore throat is more likely to be a Strep throat or other serious illness.
  • If you notice facial pain, tooth pain, or yellow drainage from your nose accompanied by a fever, it is possible that you have an infection of the nasal passages (sinusitis) or a dental infection that would benefit from a medical evaluation and a course of antibiotics.

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