What Causes Cold and How To Prevent It
What is a cold?
It is a viral infection found in the upper respiratory tract. This virus usually affects the nose and the throat, sinuses, and other paths to the lung, but the lungs aren’t affected. It is proven that the common cold is the most occurring illness ravaging the world; it is found everywhere you go. Though it is harmless, it may not feel that way. Over 200 viruses present can cause cold. The most common of these viruses is the Rhinoviruses.
These viruses are easily transferred from one person to the other or from one surface to another surface. It can survive on surfaces for hours, even days. Healthy adults can expect to have two or three colds each year, while infants and young children may have even more frequent colds. Common colds may also be called coryza, nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, and sniffles. Everyone is susceptible to colds.
What causes cold?
Viruses cause the common cold though there are over 200 viruses available; the most commonly responsible for cold is the rhinoviruses. It plunges into the body through your mouth, eyes, or nose. The virus spreads through droplets in the air when someone sick sneezes, coughs, or talks.
You can also contact common cold hand to hand when someone has a cold or share materials like towels, utensils, or any handy material. If you tamper with your nose, mouth, or eyes after interaction with someone who has a cold, it is very much possible to catch a cold. Some factors increase the chances of getting a cold, and they are;
- Smoking: People who smoke or around those who smoke will likely catch severe colds.
- Age: Infants and young children are likely at a greater chance of getting cold as they are constantly in the habit of putting contaminated materials in their mouths without knowing their whereabouts, making them possible to contact hard.
- Weakened Immune system: When you are sick, your immune system has been compromised, and as such, the chances of getting a cold are high.
- Exposure: When there are many people in a particular location, contact cold increases. An enormous chunk of crowds makes it difficult to process a better inflow of air, which may be an issue, as the droplets are now easily transferred from one individual with the common cold to another.
- Seasons: It is possible to get common cold at any time of the year, but the chances of getting cold are more when the weather is between 20°C and 0°C.
Symptoms of cold
It is typical for cold symptoms to take 1 to 3 days to appear. It does vary from individual to individual. Signs of the nose are;
- Stuffy nose.
- Nasal congestion.
- Running nose.
- Taste or smell is lost.
- The back throat is congested.
- Watery nasal secretions
- Sinus pressure
Symptoms are affecting the head, and they include;
- Sore throat
- Lymph nodes swollen
- Eyes become watery
There are symptoms peculiar to the whole body, it includes;
- Body aches.
- Discomfort around the chest region.
- Breathing becomes difficult.
- Fever sets in, though at a superficial level.
- Generally not feeling well.
The discharge from the nose graduates from one stage to another. It may start transparent, then thickens, and turn yellow and green as the cold continues. These don’t equate to a bacterial infection and shouldn’t cause you to panic. The symptoms of a cold usually last for about 7 to 10 days; it does peak for a while, especially during the 5th day before it improves. However, as the symptom persists more than is expected, say more than 10 days, the condition may no longer be a common cold but a symptom of another disease that requires that you consult your doctor for further diagnosis and prescriptions.
Is there any difference between Cold and Flu?
It is possible to look at cold and flu, and it seems they may be alike and similar. Though they are both issues that affect the respiratory tracts and provide similar symptoms, they are both caused by different viruses. How they are distinguished is in the differences in their symptoms.
Apprehending the difference between cold and flu symptoms can help you decide how to approach your condition and know if you are going to see your Doctor or not. It is discovered that the flu symptoms are more severe than the cold symptoms, and complications caused by both differ. The flu symptoms can create complications, unlike cold which may not be severe. The difficulty created by flu includes;
- Ear infections and sinuses.
- The Body system responds excessively to any sort of disease.
How to prevent cold
Common cold, though minor, can make you miserable and uncomfortable. There are no vaccines to prevent cold, but they can be curbed to reduce its influence or spread. Putting up with all of the following precautions can help prevent freezing, and it includes;
- Your hands should be washed thoroughly: The use of soap and water helps prevent the spread of droplets of viruses and other germs. To add up to this, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to keep one safe. Avoid touching your eyes or nose with unwashed hands and encourage children to do the same.
- Staying away from people with colds: Staying away from a crowded area increases your chances of not contacting cold. If you must attend to someone sick, endeavor to wash your hands with soap before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Take care of your gut: When the bacterium in your gut is healthy, it does boost your overall health. Consuming bacteria-rich food or probiotic supplements, e.g. Yogurt, helps improve the chances of not getting cold.
- Disinfect your belongings: Tough surfaces such as the handles of your door, light switches, electronics, kitchen, and bathroom countertops should be kept clean and disinfected properly. This is especially important in homes where there is someone who is sick. Children’s toys should be washed periodically as they regularly put these materials in their mouths, nose, eyes, and hands.
- Avoid sharing: Sharing of materials increases the chances of contracting a cold. It is proper to label individuals on what they are to use at home to help them reduce the chance of spreading any virus that may cause a cold.
- Constantly cough into your elbow: It is safer to cough or sneeze into tissues. In cases where there are no issues, you can sneeze or cough into your elbow and not your hands. Accidently if you sneeze into your hands, wash them thoroughly immediately, and if you need to greet someone after sneezing or coughing into your hands, you can prefer the elbow bump to prevent the spread of the cold.
- Avoid touching your face: The common cold virus can live on your body for days without causing any sickness, but the moment there is contact with your face, and straight into your mouth, eyes, or nose, especially with an infected hand, the chances of getting cold is high.
- Avoid smoking:
- When you are sick, stay at home: Being sick requires that you rest and stay at home if possible, as this helps curb the spread of the rhinovirus to others.
- Eating well, getting exercise, and taking enough sleep are generally good for your health.
Colds are pretty uncomfortable and can make you miserable. Unfortunately, there are no cures or treatments that take care of the common cold; out rightly, the cold runs through till it is done and you get comfortable. Remedies for cold are to ease nasal congestion or sneezing, and sometimes it is mistaken for other respiratory infections. You are expected to make an appointment with your doctor if the symptoms become severe and persist for more than 10 days.