A contagious viral infection of the upper-respiratory pas- sages including the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, eustachi- an tubes, trachea, larynx, bronchial tubes.
- Runny or stuffy nose. Nasal discharge is watery at first, then becomes thick and yellow
- Sore throat
- Sore throat
- Cough that produces little or no sputum
- Low fever
- Watering eyes
- Appetite loss
Any of at least 100 viruses. Virus particles spread through the air or from person-to-person contact, espe- cially hand-shaking.
- Winter (colds are most frequent in cold weather)
- Children attending school or day care
- Household member who has cold
- Crowded or unsanitary living conditions
- Infection may be facilitated by stress, fatigue or allergic disorders
- To prevent spreading a cold to others, avoid unnecessary contact during the contagious phase (first 2 to 4 days)
- Wash hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose or before handling food
- Avoid crowded places when possible, especially during the winter
- Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet that includes plenty of citrus fruits and other sources of vitamin C
Spontaneous recovery in 7 to 14 days.
Bacterial infections of the ears, throat, sinuses or lungs.
- To relieve nasal congestion, use salt-water drops (1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water) by putting 2 or 3 drops of salt solution into each nostril.
- Use a cool-mist, ultrasonic humidifier to increase air moisture. Clean humidifier daily
- For a baby too young to blow his or her nose, use an infant nasal aspirator. If mucus is thick and sticky, loosen it by putting 2 or 3 drops of salt solution (see above) into each nostril
Don’t insert cotton swabs into a child’s nostrils. Instead, catch the discharge outside the nostril on a tissue or swab, roll it around and pull the discharge out of the nose.
- No medicine, including antibiotics, can cure the common cold. To relieve symptoms, you may use non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, decongestants, nose drops or sprays, cough remedies and throat lozenges
- Stronger pain medicine or a muscle relaxant may be prescribed
- Vitamin C in large doses (up to 1000 mg a day) may help shorten the duration
Bed rest is not necessary, but avoid vigorous activity. Rest often.
Regular diet. Drink extra fluids, including water, fruit juice, tea and carbonated drinks.
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