A common cold is characterized when the viral infection irritates and infects the upper respiratory tract that targets the nose and throat. When you have colds, it is important to treat it right away to avoid possible complications. It may be a minor form of sickness, but it can still give an inconvenience and irritation that is why immediate attention is needed. In this article, we’ll show you the different symptoms of colds and how it can be avoided.
Causes of colds
There are different viruses that are prevalent that may cause cold but the common virus is the rhinovirus. This virus can easily be spread because it can stay in a person or in the surface for a couple of days. If you accidentally touch this virus, you won’t get sick unless you expose your hands to your mouth, nose or eyes. You can also get this virus easily from someone through hand-to-hand contact, sharing of utensils, telephones, and when you exhaled droplets in the air if someone with a cold sneeze, coughs or talks.
The appearance of cold may experience 2-3 days after the exposure from the virus that may last a week up to 10 days. The signs and symptoms may vary from one person to another, you may need to be observant for you to know if the symptoms are just normal for a cold or if it needs medical attention. These are the common signs of colds:
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
This happens when there is excess fluid in the nose that causes the blood vessels and mucous membrane to swell. You may notice a thick consistency of mucous and sometimes yellow or green in color. This is the most common symptom of a cold and sometimes someone with cold experiences post-nasal drip where the mucous travels down the throat from the nose.
When the mucous membranes of the nose and throat are irritated, sneezing is triggered. Sometimes this is the first symptom that you will experience before having a runny nose or nasal congestion. This irritation is commonly caused by histamine which is a natural inflammatory mediator that is released by the body when the nasal cells are infected by the virus.
A cough is usually accompanied by colds. It may either be a dry cough or the one that has mucus. This cough goes away as the cold symptoms are treated. It may last for about 1 to 3 weeks depending on how fast your body recovers.
- Sore throat
When you have a sore throat, you may feel dry, itchy and painful throat that be experienced every time you would swallow your saliva or eating solid food. When you have a cold virus, your tissues in the throat is inflamed. It can also be a cause of post-nasal drip. The common cold is a viral infection in your upper respiratory tract. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. In most cases, viruses like the cold just need to run their course. You can treat the symptoms of the infection, but you can’t actually treat the infection itself.
When to consult a doctor?
Symptoms that are accompanied with colds is just normal. It may last a week or up to 10 days. It is no longer normal if your colds and its symptoms are still experienced after more than 10 days. You may need to consult with your doctor to give you medications such as antibiotics to rule out other complications that may occur such as sinusitis or other bronchial issues.
What foods can relieve colds and their symptoms
When you have colds and is suffering from its symptoms, you may not have an appetite for food but you are still obliged to eat and drink so as to have enough energy to fight for the viruses that have in your body.
Consuming warm liquids help your sinuses to open up so that you won’t have a hard time breathing. Soup, specifically chicken soup is a bit salty that is helpful in relieving the irritations of the throat tissues.
2. Warm drink such tea
Drinking tea is a great warm drink when you have colds because it consists of anti-inflammatory properties and it can ease nasal congestion. Coffee is not recommended as a warm drink when you have colds because it may cause negatively when consumed with your medications and that it increases the likelihood of dehydration.
This food contains a lot of healthy bacteria that will further strengthen your immunity for you to fight other illnesses and conditions brought by harmful viruses.
There is a misconception that eating cold food is not good for colds and it would even worsen your condition, popsicles will effectively numb and reduce the pain in your throat. Choose low-sugar popsicles so as not to cause any other irritations in your throat if you would choose sweet ones.
Who are at risk to colds?
- Young children 6 years old and below are at high risk of having colds frequently especially if they are often exposed to other children that have colds as well.
- Those who have a weakened immune system that has a record of chronic illnesses are also at high risk.
- Both adults and children are more susceptible to colds when the environmental conditions are harsh such as winter and fall seasons.
- Those who have vices such as alcoholism and smoking are also prone to frequent colds because these activities have the ability to lower down the immune system.
Tips to prevent colds
- Always keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water and natural fruit juices.
- Always make sure that your hands are clean by washing it thoroughly with soap and water and by using alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill bacteria that hold viruses.
- Make sure your surroundings are clean, your kitchen, bathroom and also by disinfecting your things such as the utensils.
- For you to strengthen your immunity, you may need to eat healthy foods, exercise a lot and have plenty of sleep.
- Make sure not to get in contact with sick people, this is not to discriminate them but this is just as precautionary way for yourself not to get diseases or illnesses especially if you know that you have low immunity.