Cold - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

The most common upper respiratory tract infection that affects millions of people annually is the common cold. It shows the signs and symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, cough, and headache. Usually, it resolves on its own by the time. 


Risk factors for getting common cold:


Preexisting lung diseases:

Preexisting lung diseases like COPD, asthma, bronchiectasis predispose a person to a higher risk of getting the common cold and its complications.


Age:

Children less than 5 years old and adults above 65 have a higher chance of getting a common cold.


Obesity:

Obese people are more likely to develop cold complications than those who are not obese.


Lowered immunity:

Any condition that causes immune system suppression causes different bacteria to infect an individual as the immune system is responsible for fighting off infections. Health conditions like AIDS, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes, etc can predispose a person to catch various infections like a common cold.


Aspirin use in children:

Children who receive aspirin while having a common cold infection can develop complications such as Reye’s syndrome- a serious medical condition that causes swelling in the brain and liver.


Pregnancy:

Pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting common cold complications.


Symptoms of the common cold:


The symptoms of a common cold develop fast and initially resemble common cold and present with:


  • Sneezing

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose


Over time, you may feel worse and may experience the following symptoms:


  • Body aches

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Chills

  • Headache

  • Dry cough

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Eye pain


Treatment of common cold:


Generally, the common cold resolves on its own and you might not need any medicine. It is advisable to increase your fluid intake and rest through your symptomatic period. However, if the infection is severe and becomes complicated, your doctor may prescribe you antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir, zanamivir, etc.


Prevention of common cold:


To prevent complications of cold, you can practice the following tips along with other behavioral strategies that also help in preventing the spread of common cold, such as:


Frequent hand-washing: Washing hands frequently and maintaining good hygiene can help reduce the chances of catching common cold infection by clearing up the germs on your hand.


Avoiding close contact with infected people: Try to maintain a physical distance from people who have a common cold or other upper respiratory tract infections. 


Avoiding crowded areas: Try to avoid exposure to crowded, poorly ventilated areas such as buses, shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, etc to protect yourself from getting the common cold as the chance of infection spread increases in such areas.

 

Disinfecting high-touch surfaces: Surfaces that are touched by many people, such as doorknobs, switchboards, etc can serve as a medium for the transfer of germs. Cleaning these surfaces with a disinfectant can control the spread of germs.


Avoiding touching your eyes and face: The germs such as the common cold virus can enter your throat and respiratory tract through the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, and nose, so it is advised not to touch your face and eyes frequently without proper hand-washing.


Wearing a mask when going to crowded places: Covering your nose with a facemask can help prevent the virus from getting into your respiratory system.


Conclusion


A common cold is an infection of the respiratory system. Though it clears up on its own, it may get complicated, and it is advisable to see your doctor if you experience difficulty in breathing, chest pain, or other severe symptoms. If you have a common cold, you should maintain a distance from others and wear a mask and avoid going to crowded places to prevent the spread of the infection. With adequate prevention, the common cold can be controlled.


Doctors For Cold

Akram Medical Complex

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Dr. Rehman Rasheed

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Dr. Abad Ahmed Khan

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Dr. Shah Nawaz Hassan

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Dr. Afnan Safdar Tarar

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Dr. Maira

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Dr. Haroon ul islam

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