Monday, November 28, 2022

Cold: Symptoms, causes, risks & remedies

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Cold: Symptoms, causes, risks & remedies

The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It’s usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Many types of viruses can cause a common cold.

Healthy adults can expect to have two or three colds each year. Infants and young children may have even more frequent colds.

Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. Generally, you don’t need medical attention for a common cold. However, if symptoms don’t improve or if they get worse, see your doctor.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus. Signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person, might include:

Runny or stuffy nose
Sore throat
Cough
Congestion
Slight body aches or a mild headache
Sneezing
Low-grade fever
Generally feeling unwell

The discharge from your nose may start out clear and become thicker and yellow or green as a common cold runs its course. This doesn’t usually mean you have a bacterial infection.

Causes

Although many types of viruses can cause a common cold, rhinoviruses are the most common cause.

A cold virus enters your body through your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks.

It also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by sharing contaminated objects, such as eating utensils, towels, toys or telephones. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact, you’re likely to catch a cold.

Risk factors

These factors can increase your chances of getting a cold:

Age- Infants and young children are at greatest risk of colds, especially if they spend time in child care settings.

Weakened immune system- Having a chronic illness or otherwise weakened immune system increases your risk.

Time of year- Both children and adults are more likely to get colds in fall and winter, but you can get a cold anytime.

Smoking- You’re more likely to catch a cold and to have more-severe colds if you smoke or are around secondhand smoke.

Exposure- If you’re around crowds, such as at school or on an airplane, you’re likely to be exposed to viruses that cause colds.

Cold: Symptoms, causes, risks & remedies

Complications

These conditions can occur along with your cold:

Acute ear infection (otitis media). This occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the space behind the eardrum. Typical signs and symptoms include earaches or the return of a fever following a common cold.

Asthma- A cold can trigger wheezing, even if you don’t have asthma. If you have asthma, a cold can make it worse.

Acute sinusitis – In adults or children, a common cold that doesn’t resolve can lead to swelling and pain (inflammation) and infection of the sinuses.
Other infections. A common cold can lead to other infections, including strep throat, pneumonia, and croup or bronchiolitis in children. These infections need to be treated by a doctor.

Treat your cold at home

Being sick, even when you’re home in bed, isn’t fun. The combination of body aches, fever, chills, and nasal congestion can be enough to make anyone miserable.

There are plenty of home remedies that can alleviate your symptoms and get you back to normal. If you still feel sick after a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor. If you have trouble breathing, have a rapid heartbeat, feel faint, or experience other severe symptoms, get medical help sooner.

Keep reading to see what cold and flu remedies you can conjure up at home.

Ginger:

The health benefits of ginger root have been touted for centuries, but now we have scientific proof of its curative properties.

A few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water may help soothe a cough or sore throat. Research suggests that it can also ward off the feelings of nausea that so often accompany influenza.

For example, one studyTrusted Source found that just 1 gram of ginger can “alleviate clinical nausea of diverse causes.”

Honey:

Honey has a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey in tea with lemon can ease sore throat pain.

Research suggests that honey is an effective cough suppressant, too. In one study, researchers found that giving children 10 grams of honey at bedtime reduced the severity of their cough symptoms.

The children reportedly slept more soundly, which also helps reduce cold symptoms.

Garlic:

Garlic contains the compound allicin, which may have antimicrobial properties.

Adding a garlic supplement to your diet might reduce the severity of cold symptoms.

According to some research Trusted Source, it might even help you avoid getting sick in the first place.

Probiotics


Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria and yeast that are found in your body, some foods, and supplements.

They can help keep your gut and immune system healthy, and research indicates Trusted Source that probiotics may reduce your chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection.

Cold: Symptoms, causes, risks & remedies

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