A woman suffering from common cold

Common Colds: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.

Common Colds:  Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention.

Common colds are very common especially during fall, winter, or rainy season. Although the common cold affects all parts of the body.


It usually begins in the nose and throat. Colds are so common we hardly give them a second thought, yet they can be rather serious especially with children under 6 years of age and adults above 65 years.


Possible Causes of the Common Cold

Most colds are due to virus infections of one type or another. Unfortunately, none of these viruses are susceptible to our present antibiotic medicines.


There are more than 200 viruses but the common ones are Rhinoviruses and Adenoviruses produce the more serious type of colds.


Other viruses that can cause common colds include coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and parainfluenza. In more serious cases may result in tonsillitis and sore throat and even virus pneumonia, particularly in children.


The common cold is the most prevalent of all diseases known to man. The average person seems to have two or three colds a year.


The condition is highly contagious. When one member of the family has a cold, the others are very likely to have one within a few days.

A woman suffering from common cold

A woman suffering from common cold


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Those At Risk 

The categories of those more at risk of getting infected with the common cold

  • Low resistance usually among infants and children, colds are usually always more serious in younger children that have not yet built resistance and the elder with a weak immune system.


  • Those with Allergic disorders of the nose and throat also make a person more susceptible to colds and other virus infections.


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  • Lack of adequate sleep may be another factor.


  • The common cold is more prevalent at certain times of year particularly during the raining season or harmattan in a tropical climate or during the fall or winter.


  •  As a cigarette smoker, you are more likely to catch a cold or when you are constantly exposed to cigarette smoke. 


  •  If you are constantly exposed to those that are already infected e.g family members or in public places such as schools, bus parks, railway stations, and gatherings of large people.



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Symptoms of the Common Cold

  • Congestions of the nasal passages are usually the first sign of a cold.



  • Thin, watery discharge from the nose, requiring the use of many handkerchiefs.


  • The eyes may be red and irritated.


  • Rise in temperature, preceded by chilly feelings.


  • Sore throat and have some difficulty in swallowing.


  • Hoarseness, or laryngitis, it indicates that the infection has reached the vocal cords.


  • Deep chest cough, due to bronchitis.


  • A general feeling of unwell.


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Adequate bed rest is still the best treatment for any severe cold. There is no cure for a common cold, it will get better and improve with time on its own without the use of any antibiotics.


Antibiotics won’t help you get better if you have a cold instead it may cause more harm by destroying the good bacteria in your gut system.


A hot bath may help to relieve much of the congestion in the chest and nasal membranes.


The use of nose drops and specially medicated tablets will also help clear the nasal congestion and make the patient feel better.


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Simple hygiene of washing hands will help in the prevention of common colds

Simple hygiene of washing hands will help in the prevention of common colds


Some of these tips will help prevent the common cold and also help others around you stay safe.

  • Wash your hands always, teach your children and family members the importance of simple hygiene of hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer in the absence of soap.


  • Where possible avoid close contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections. Be more self-conscious in a crowded environment.


  • Always cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a handkerchief or tissue paper or into the bend of their elbow and discard tissue appropriately.


  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.



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