The Common Cold

The Common Cold Image

The common cold is an illness that affects countless people every year. It can be caused by a number of different viruses, in fact, there are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Adults get a version of the common cold around two to four times a year, while children can get a version of the common cold up to six to 10 times per year.

Because it can be caused by so many different virus strains, symptoms of the common cold can vary from person to person. For the most part, symptoms are relatively mild. They will not cause lasting harm and will just make the cold sufferer feel under the weather for a few days or up to two weeks.

Unfortunately, antibiotics are not effective against the common cold. Antibiotics work against bacterial diseases and infections, and the common cold is caused by a virus. Pain relievers may be effective against some cold symptoms, but cold sufferers should be careful with these and make sure to follow dosage instructions.

While some parents will turn to cough syrup and decongestant sprays, these are ineffective against the common cold and may actually do more harm than good. This leads many people to rely on old remedies and alternative cold remedies for symptom relief.

The common cold is thought to be so common because of how easily it is spread. Cold virus germs enter the body through the mouth and nose. They can be spread through hand-to-hand contact with a sick person or through sharing objects with a sick person and then touching your own face.

In this section, we’ll cover all aspects of the common cold, including causes, symptoms, the common cold virus and more.

The Cold Germ and Virus

The cold germ and virus comes in over 200 different forms, each of which can cause the common cold and a number of different and varying symptoms. Severity and specific symptom occurrence depends on the specific virus strain and on the immune system of the person affected by the virus.

The cold germ and virus spread quickly and easily and are difficult to avoid. People can acquire the virus from the air, from hand-to-hand contact or from sharing objects with an affected person. The virus usually enters the body through the mouth, the nose or the eyes, so touching any of these after touching an affected person or object will make you get the common cold.

Avoiding touching your face and frequent hand washing are great ways to avoid the cold germ and virus.

Cold Symptoms

Symptoms from a cold can make sufferers feel sick and basically down-in-the-dumps. Symptoms vary depending on the particular strain of the cold virus you’re suffering from and how strong your immune system is. Cold symptoms can include:

  • aching body
  • congestion
  • coughing
  • headache
  • itchy or watery eyes
  • itchy, sore throat
  • mild fever
  • runny nose
  • slight fatigue or sleepiness
  • sneezing
  • stuffy nose.

Colds can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. If symptoms persist longer, see a doctor, as you may be suffering from something other than cold symptoms.

Resources

Mayo Clinic (2007). Common Cold. Retrieved October 28, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-cold/DS00056/DSECTION=1.