The common cold (also known as "acute nasopharyngitis") is a mild viral infectious disease of the nose and throat; the upper respiratory system. Symptoms include sneezing, sniffling, running/blocked nose (often these occur simultaneously, or in only one nostril); scratchy, sore, or phlegmy throat; coughing; headache; and tiredness. Colds typically last three to five days, with residual coughing lasting up to three weeks. As its name suggests, it is the most common of all human diseases, infecting subjects at an average rate of slightly over one infection per year per person. Infection rates greater than three infections per year per person are not uncommon in some populations. Children and their caretakers are at a higher risk, probably due to the high population density of schools and the fact that transmission to family members is highly efficient.
Cold occur throughout the year but are most common in late winter and early spring. There is no cure for the common cold. If you cath a cold, you must treat the symptoms as using amouthwash will not prevent a cold nor will antibiotics cure a cold. A cold usually lasts about 1 to 2 weeks is is brought on by any of a number of viruses. If a person seems to have a cold all of the time, or if symptoms last much longer than 2 weeks, suspect allergies or sinusitis.
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
The best way to avoid a cold is to avoid close contact with existing sufferers, to wash hands thoroughly and regularly, and to avoid touching the face. Anti-bacterial soaps have no effect on the cold virus - it is the mechanical action of hand washing that removes the virus particles.
Because of the large variety of viruses causing the common cold, vaccination is impractical.
- Eat well.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Try to avoid people with colds.
- Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth but cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often.