Common Cold Prevention

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of the common cold is increasing. The Agency’s National Center for Health Statistics reports that the incidence of the common cold was recorded at 14.8 million cases in 2016, an increase of 1.8 million cases from the previous year.

This increase may be due to more people being aware of the symptoms and seeking treatment. The majority of people who get the common cold are young adults between the ages of 18 and 44.

The common cold is a respiratory infection caused by the cold virus. It is usually mild but can lead to serious complications in some cases.

The common cold is not a particularly dangerous illness, but it can be annoying and uncomfortable.

What is the Common Cold?

The common cold is a miserable experience. The symptoms, which can include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and a sore throat, can make it hard to sleep, work, or even enjoy your free time.

Treatment usually involves rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications, but there is no cure for the common cold. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to get vaccinated.

Causes of the Common Cold

The common cold is caused by many different viruses, including rhinoviruses, seasonal coronaviruses, and enteroviruses. Rhinoviruses are the most common cause, followed by seasonal coronaviruses, with enteroviruses being the least common.

Different viruses affect people of all ages, but young children usually have more colds than adults because their immune systems are still developing and they have not had as much exposure to viruses. Although humans are the only known hosts, some cold viruses can infect animals too.

A common cold is an infection in your upper respiratory system, which includes your nose, sinuses, throat, and bronchial tubes. Many different viruses can cause it. In fact, there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause the common cold.

Most people will get at least one cold each year.

Common Cold Spread

The common cold, or upper respiratory tract infection, is caused by viruses.

These viruses are spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva, mucus, or blood, from an infected person.

-Colds are also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, toys, or countertops.

You can also Submit cold by inhaling droplets from a sneeze or cough.

Symptoms of a Common Cold

For many people, the symptoms can last for days or even weeks and can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Mild fever
  • Nasal discharge
  • Malaise
  • Hoarseness of voice

The common cold is highly contagious and is usually spread through coughing and sneezing or by contact with contaminated surfaces.

However, you can also Submit cold by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after coming into contact with the virus. For example, if you shake hands with someone who has a cold and then touch your own eyes, you may get the virus.

The incubation period for a cold is usually two to three days, which means that people are most infectious 24–48 hours before they start to feel ill.

After a person becomes infected with a cold virus, the virus multiplies in the nose and throat. The body’s immune system responds by producing antibodies to fight the virus.

Stages of the Common Cold

The illness typically starts with a cold, or flu-like, illness, which may last for about a week.

The First 1-2q Days

The first symptoms of a cold are usually a headache, a sore throat, and a mild fever. The fever may last for a few days but usually goes down in a few days.

Symptomatic Cold Period of 2-7 Days

The cold stage is typically the most severe stage and can involve a wide range of symptoms that usually last for two to seven days, but can last up to 10 days.

Symptoms vary depending on the day of the cold. The most common symptoms are a runny nose, a sore throat, fever and chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and cough.

The Remission Period is 8–10 Days

The cold itself is a mild illness. It is usually not very serious, and most people recover completely within a few days.

However, the cold can become more serious if it is not treated properly. If a person has a cold, they may have a dry cough, a runny nose, and a sore throat.

These symptoms usually develop within two to seven days after you catch a cold, but they can occur up to 10 days after you are infected.

Some people also have a fever, and some may have a continuous cough (post-tussive syndrome) for up to 3 weeks following the common cold.

Susceptible Individuals to common Cold

There are many risk factors for getting a cold, including being exposed to viruses. Some people are more likely to Submit cold than others, depending on their age, sex, and health.

Different viruses affect people of all ages, but young children usually have more colds than adults because their immune systems are still developing and they have not had as much exposure to viruses as adults.

Risk factors for developing a cold include:

  • Being exposed to a cold virus.
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Spending time in cold environments.
  • Having a health condition that makes you more susceptible to infections, such as asthma or diabetes,
  • Less than 6 months old and older than 65 years old, people are more prone to getting infected.
  • Have a family history of colds
  • Smokers
  • Winter season: October to February has a high incidence of the common cold.
  • Exposure to common places: There are multiple infected people traveling on public transport, at school, or in the workplace, which might cause you to become ill.

Complications of the Common Cold

Most of the time, the common cold subsides on its own, but sometimes it gives rise to complications.

  • Red, itchy, swollen ears: ear infection
  • Rash
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma-post-cold wheezing
  • Bacterial infection and sepsis: strep throat, bacterial pneumonia, meningitis, ear infection
  • Sinus infection: sinus headache and post nasal drip

Typical Cold Treatment

There are a few different things you can do to help ease your symptoms.

  • Taking a hot shower might help loosen congestion in your airways.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids and eating light snacks can help refresh your system.
  • Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms.

However, there is no cure for the common cold, and the best way to prevent its spread is to get vaccinated.

Over-the-counter medications can be a lifesaver when you have a common cold. Many of these medications are available without a prescription, and they are often the first thing people try when they have symptoms.

How to Prevent the Common Cold’s Spread

Colds are among the most contagious human diseases; they are spread mainly by contact with respiratory secretions, such as droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by contact with contaminated surfaces.

However, the viruses that cause colds can also spread through the air.

So here are some tips for helping yourself stay healthy during this pandemic.

  • Make sure you’re getting enough rest by taking breaks from work or school each day. You’ll feel better when you get enough restful sleep, so make sure you give yourself that opportunity!
  • Stay hydrated Whether you’re drinking water or sipping on soup, drink something every few hours. It will help keep your body functioning optimally throughout the day and help prevent dehydration.
  • If you live in an area where people are experiencing more severe symptoms than others, try not to touch anyone who’s coughing or sneezing near you.
  • If you do need to get close to someone else who isn’t sick yet, just let them know so they don’t cough on them!
  • Take a hot shower or warm bath
  • Drinking warm liquids can help open your airways and loosen congestion.
  • Do not share cutlery (spoons, cups, and plates) with others.
  • Take over-the-counter cold medications: decongestants, cough suppressants, and antihistamines.
  • Maintain proper hand hygiene ; wash your hands with soap and water or sanitize them with alcohol.

When to See the Doctor

Although many people catch a cold simply by being around someone who is sick, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of getting the cold.

For example, you can avoid close contact with people who are sick, and you can keep your hands clean.

If you are sick, stay home from work or school, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Finally, take some cold medicine to help you feel better.

Over-the-counter medications can be a lifesaver when you have a common cold. Many of these medications are available without a prescription, and they are often the first thing people try when they have symptoms.

The most common over-the-counter cold medications include decongestants, cough suppressants, and antihistamines.

Most over-the-counter cold medications are safe to use daily and are usually effective at reducing symptoms.

But if you feel nothing is going to work and you are still sick, it is best to visit the doctor.

Some of the sinister symptoms and signs that will alarm you to see the doctor are as below.

Intolerabsle symptoms

  • High-grade fever (more than 101 °F (38.5°C).
  • Fever appears with chills and rigors and won’t subside for more than two days.
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Severe headache with neck stiffness (meningitis)

Symptoms persist despite treatment for more than 10 days.

  • Asthma exacerbations
  • Sinus tenderness and cough
  • Ear discharge

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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