Basics of the Common Cold

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Winters are here and with its prevalence, the common cold starts bugging many of us. The common cold is caused by a virus that spreads through touching of our mouth and area around the nose after we have laid our hands on germs (direct contact with contaminated objects). It can spread through the air as well, as the causative agent is airborne.

With temperatures hitting lower on the mercury scales, the common cold becomes all the more common. Although it is still the most researched area and studies have different findings, it is appropriate to say that a colder climate harbours the breeding of the germs. The cold is accompanied by sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, swelling in the gums and watery eyes. The contagious period usually lasts up to 3 to 7 days.

The cold works something like this: after the initial few days the symptoms change drastically, sneezing turns into coughing, thick sputum ejects out of the throat at intervals and a congested nose and chest thereafter.

There is no cure for the common cold. For relief, try over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen. Many people mistakenly believe that they should take antibiotics for colds. Not only are they ineffective against cold viruses, they can cause future problems. With excessive usage of antibiotics, there is a high incidence of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics.

  • The best way to avoid falling into the grips of cold is to keep washing your hands. However, the winters are harsh and one doesn’t feel like touching ice cold water. Therefore a sanitizer comes in handy. Keep applying little drops of the sanitizer at regular intervals.
  • Gargling with warm salt water will relieve you of the sore throat.
  • Freshly grounded ginger paste along with honey also soothes the throat. The cough becomes worse at night. Have a spoonful of the paste before going to bed for a restful sleep at night.
  • It is very important to get plenty of rest during colds. A lot of our energy is utilized in sneezing and coughing. Also there are muscle twitches and ache in various parts of our bodies. Whenever you are under an attack of cold, it means it is asking your body to take rest.
  • The body gets dehydrated and hence we need to keep drinking fluids. Soups with herbs are potentially great in providing immediate relief.
  • Sip in the green tea. Green tea has a protein called L-theanine which prompts T-cells to secrete 10 times more virus-fighting interferon.
  • If your gums are irritable and swelled up, place a clove in-between your teeth. Chew it sometimes; the juice secreted will give you relief.

We fall sick at inappropriate times. Just before an exam, an interview or an important business deal. During those emergency times, it is always sensible to consult a doctor. You can seek help from an online doctor at Konsult. General physicians are available round the clock.

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