Common Cold; its Causes, Symtoms and prevention


The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by many different viruses. However, the most common virus causing it is known as the rhinovirus and It multiplies best at temperatures found in the nose.

The common cold is transmitted by virus-infected airborne droplets or by direct contact with infected secretions.

Being in cold weather does not cause the common cold, but cold weather promotes close contact.

It is also a self-limited disease that can be managed at home and most people with a common cold recovered in about 7 to 10 days.

How the common cold spreads

It is spread either by direct contact with infected secretions from contaminated surfaces or by inhaling the airborne virus after individuals sneeze or cough.

It can also be caused by person to person transmission. Such as when an individual touches their nose and then touches someone or something else.

A healthy individual who then makes direct contact with these secretions can subsequently become infected, often after their contaminated hands contact their own eyes, nose, or mouth.

This virus can also live on frequently touched objects such as doorknobs, pens, books, cell phones, computer and keyboards. It lasts for several hours and can thus be acquired from contact with these objects.


The most important prevention measure for the common cold is to avoid contact with infected individuals.


Symptoms of common cold

There are various symptoms of common cold and they usually manifest after about one to three days after exposure to a cold causing virus.
This symptoms include;

1 Runny nose

2 Nasal Congestion

3 Sore throat

4 Cough

5 Sneezing

6 Mild headache

7 Slight body aches


Risk factors

These are factors which can increase your chances of getting a cold. They include;


1 Weakened immune system
A chronic illness or a weakened immune system increases your risk.

2 Time of year
Both children and adults are more likely to get colds in the wet season. However, you can get a cold anytime.

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

4 Smokers
A person who smokes is more likely to catch a cold and to have more severe cold.


5 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.


How to prevent the common cold

1 Practice the act of washing your hands often.

2 Avoid touching your face, especially the nose, mouth, and eye areas.

3 Use disposable items if someone in your family is infected (such as disposable cups).

4 Keep household surfaces clean.

5 If your child has a cold, wash his or her toys as well.

6 Use paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom for drying hands after hand washing.

7 Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

8 Do not smoke.

9 Disinfect frequently touched surfaces or personal objects

10 Do not share personal belongings such as towels, handkerchiefs, or tissues.

When to see a doctor

For adults
Generally, you don’t need medical attention for a common cold. However, seek medical attention if you have:

* Symptoms that worsen or fail to improve

* Fever greater than 101.3 F (38.5 C) lasting more than three days

*Shortness of breath

*Severe sore throat and headache.

For children 
In general, your child doesn’t need to see his or her doctor for a common cold. But seek medical attention right away if your child has any of the following:

* A fever with temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) in newborns up to 12 weeks and more than 2 days in a child of any age.

* Headache, throat pain and cough

*Ear pain

*Lack of appetite

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