The common cold can affect anyone, but is usually more common in children. There are at least 200 viruses that are known to course the common cold. These viruses are easily transmitted by sneezing and coughing of infected people. The common cold can also be passed on via touch, hand to hand contact after a person’s hand, or an object, has been contaminated with a virus.
Colds can occur anytime of the year, although they are more frequent in autumn and winter. Children are more susceptible to colds then adults as they have yet to develop an immune system to the viruses – this means viruses and colds can spread very quickly in nurseries and schools.
The symptoms of a cold usually start within 12 hours and 3 days after infection. Symptoms usually intensify over 24-48 hours. The symptoms of Influenza (the flu) usually get worse over a few hours.
Symptoms for a Cold May include:
- Frequent Sneezing.
- Runny Nose.
- Mild Fever and headache.
- Sore throat, and sometimes a cough.
Symptoms may also include infection of the chest, sinuses, or an ear infection. Most people recognize their symptoms as those of a common cold and do not seek medical advice, and despite a great deal of medical research, there is no cure – but over the counter drugs (see treatments) can relieve the symptoms. It is also important to drink plenty of cool liquids, and Vitamin C is also advisable.
There are two main types of cough.
A cough is usually a sign that something else is wrong. A side effect of another problem. Think of what you are suffering – besides your cough.
A persistent cough can cause pain, and in some very server circumstances. fractured lower ribs, or even abdominal or pelvic hernias. But don’t worry, the later is only in very rare circumstances.
1. Productive or Dry
The main purpose of coughing is to remove excess phlegm from the lungs. – Always make sure that you are not coughing up Yellow/Green or Blood in your phlegm. If you are, seek medical advice.
1. If you are coughing up phlegm, the coughing is referred to as productive – the cough is serving a purpose by removing phlegm.
2. If no phlegm is being produced – the cough is referred to as a dry cough.
3. Most coughs are short-term, and will disappear within a short time.
4. the most common cause of a cough is irritation of the throat by mucus particles inhaled from the back of the nose.
5. Colds are also a common course for coughing.
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Most coughs do not need treatment, and will clear up after a few days. If your cough is extremely persistent, and continues for more then 2 weeks, you should consult your doctor. You should also consult your doctor if your cough is severe, painful, courses shortness of breath, chest pain, or discoloration/blood in the phlegm.
2. Severe or Persistent Coughing
A cough may be a sign of a serious infection, such as damage to the lungs from pneumonia, acute bronchitis, asthma or even the inhaling of a object, such as an item of food. Continues violent coughing can course Gastroesophageal reflux, a disorder when acidic fluid from the stomach is regurgitated into the oesophagus.
Home Remedies for cough and cold
Home remedies are treatments that can be made or prepared at home, or are recommended as a treatment without approval from a GP. These treatments have been reported to be effective as treatments, though no promise is given about their effectiveness:
Vitamin C – is reported to be very beneficial when suffering with a cold or a cough.
Zinc – Zinc Lozenges can help some people get over a cold/cough within 4 days.
Liquids – Make sure you are drinking plenty of fresh liquids.
Garlic – Garlic has a natural antibiotic effect, taking 2/3 garlic casuals may help.
Fruit – Fruits are rich in vitamins, which are very important in overcoming viruses.
Rest – plenty of bed rest will help you to get over your symptoms more quickly.
Keep warm, and eat well.
Chicken Soup – Soup clears the nasal passage,
Hot Bath / Shower – Will help you breath more easily and clear your nose, as well as moisten your throat.
Blow your nose – make sure to blow your nose when you need to, and not “snort” it back into your lungs. This will only course a bigger build up.
1. Adults are less susceptible to common colds then children, as you have a much better developed immune system, the symptoms and signs of a common cold are explained here.
2. If you are suffering from a server cough, and you smoke, the chances are you are developing a smoker’s cough:
3. mokers cough is frequently much worse in the morning before the chest has been cleared of mucus that has accumulated overnight.
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4. Damage caused by smoking can be reversed by quitting smoking. If a long term smokers cough is becoming more intense or starts happening more frequently it may indicated the first signs of lung cancer and requires immediate medical investigation.
5. Certain drugs taken by adults my also cause coughing such as inhibitor drugs, for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Other Cough Treatments
There are many treatments available, the most common are:
Treatments vary in price and active ingredients – but the main reason they are not prescribed by doctors, is that effectiveness of treatments is doubtful. – This is not to say that cough treatments are placebos, just that they are not effective for anything more then minor respiratory disorders, or for soothing properties.
Almost all cough remedies are syrups, using different drugs and flavorings. There are 3 main types of cough treatments:
- Expectorants – encourage phlegm production, keeping it loose and aid in clearing.
- Mucolytic – makes phlegm less sticky and easier to cough up
- Suppressants – contain drugs to stop the body coughing.
The main treatments for coughing are suppressants; these are the most effective, but can course drowsiness, and if the cough is a productive cough (bringing up phlegm), a large buildup can occur.
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