Common Cold – Causes and Symptoms of Common Cold

Common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. This disease is usually harmless and there symptoms vary from a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, sore throat and cough. Adults are likely to have a common cold two to four times a year and children may have cold six seven times a year especially the preschoolers. Most of the people recover from cold in a week or two, but if the symptoms do not improve then consult a doctor.

Causes of Common Cold
There are more than 200 viruses that cause common cold. The other causes include:

  • The rhino virus is the most common virus that causes cold.
  • The virus enters a body through the nose or mouth.
  • The virus can spread through droplets in the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
  • It can also spread by hand to hand contact.
  • If people share objects like utensils, towels, toys or telephones.
  • If people do not wash the hands after coughing or sneezing, they carry the germs and spreads easily from person to person.

Other Factors
There are several other factors that increase the risk of infections. They include:

  • Age: Infants and preschoolers are more prone to get common colds because of their weak immune system and they are not very careful about washing hands and covering when sneezing and coughing.
  • Immunity: A weakened immune system can be another factor in having common colds.
  • Time of the year: During fall and winter, adults and children are more susceptible to colds. Colds are seen more frequently in the rainy season.

The common signs and symptoms include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Mild fatigue
  • Fever that is low grade
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Mild headaches or body pains
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Sore throat or an itchy throat
  • The discharge become thicker and yellow or green in color

When to consult a doctor
In case of adults, seek medical care if you suffer from:

  • Severe sinus pain
  • Significantly swollen glands
  • Fever along with chills, sweating, cough with phlegm
  • High fever with fatigue and aches

In children, seek medical help if the child has the following signs:

  • Fever above 103F or higher that lasts for more than 3 days
  • Persistent crying and severe cough
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Severe headache
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Vomiting or abdominal pain
  • Children may develop complications very often when compared to adults, but seek immediate medical care if you find the above sign and symptoms especially if a child suffers from middle ear infections.

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