The common cold, also referred to as viral rhinitis, is one of the most common infections among humans.
It can occur at any time of the year, however, it is most common in the fall and winter due to factors like the people’s tendency to remain indoors (less vitamin D) and the start of the school year.
Seasonal changes in relative humidity also may affect the prevalence of colds.
Adults get about 2 to 3 colds a year, and children may have up to 10 a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is also estimated that over 30 percent of school absences and 40 percent of time lost from work (40 billion dollars per year considering lost financial productivity) are due to the common cold.
An estimated 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
The symptoms of viral rhinitis come on gradually and can include:
- a sore throat;
- a runny nose or congestion;
- a blocked nose;
- muscle aches;
- headaches, as a result of congestion;
- a high temperature (more than 37.5C in children and 38C in adults);
- a dry throat;
- pressure in the face and ears;
- sneezing triggered by nasal congestion;
- loss of smell and taste;
- coughing, typically dry at first;
- feeling tired;
- earaches, usually brought on by the congestion.
Note – symptoms typically begin 2 or 3 days after infection and last 2 to 14 days.
More than 200 viruses are known to cause this infection. This is the main reason people can catch colds over and over again.
The virus is spread by hand contact with an aerosol of the secretions and virus or secretions from an infected person.
These factors can increase your chances of getting the infection:
- exposure – if you are around many people, like – on an airplane or at school, you are likely to be exposed to viruses which cause the common cold;
- stress – if you are under a lot of stress;
- smoking tobacco – you are more likely to catch this infection (probably the more severe form) if you smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoking;
- sleep – if you sleep less than 5 hours per night;
- time of year – both adults and children are more susceptible to colds in winter and fall;
- alcohol (only if you regularly consume alcoholic beverages);
- weakened immune system – taking some types of medications (like HIV/AIDS drugs) or having a chronic illness can considerably weaken your immune system;
- lack of exercise – if you are sedentary;
- age – children younger than six are at increased risk of this infection, particularly if they spend time in child-care settings.
This infection can be a result of the confusion of your thoughts, due to the fact that you do not know where to go anymore. You are experiencing a state of total disorder and your sensitivity is greatly affected.
You have too many things to manage at the same time. You feel crushed by family or professional obligations. You are cold, therefore you catch the “cold”.
The cold gives you time to rest so that you can protect yourself from others and keep a distance from them, to get in touch with yourself.
Because there is a release of secretions, it is possible for you to live an emotional situation that affects you deeply and these emotions must be released. Is there anything you want to cry about, without admitting though?
Because you experience nose congestion, is there any situation or person that “smells bad” and you do not want to feel close to it? Due to the fact that a cold can affect both your chest and your head, there may be an imbalance if you focus your attention on a plan, ignoring the other.
Being often related to the cold, it would be wise to ask yourself what situation or words caused the relationship to become “cold,” or your body to become “frozen” in such a way that you felt disappointed, hurt, and guilty.
Do you have any cold relationships in your life? Is there someone talking behind your back? Or are you the one who becomes “cold” against your own anger and pain? Because you see yourself as a victim, you accept others to give you “viruses”.
Common Cold vs. Flu (Influenza) – Differences
Influenza (better known as the flu) is a viral infection of the upper respiratory and/or lower respiratory system that is caused by influenza viruses. Unlike the common cold, influenza can develop into a more serious condition, like – pneumonia.
This is particularly true for:
- individuals with health conditions which weaken their immune system;
- pregnant women;
- young children.
You can reduce your risk of getting this infection by following a few simple steps:
#1 Reduce Yours Stress Levels
According to research, individuals experiencing emotional stress have weakened immune systems.
In addition, they are more likely to catch a cold than their calmer counterparts. Good methods to reduce your stress are mindfulness meditation, Tai Chi, or yoga.
#2 Stop Touching Your Face
Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands since viruses which cause this infection can enter the body this way and make you sick.
#3 Don’t Smoke Tobacco & Avoid Second-Hand Smoking
Smoke can increase susceptibility to colds and other infections.
Also, according to some studies, people who are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke are less able to fight off the infection.
#4 Spend Time Outside
Vitamin D (also known as the sunshine vitamin) is an essential nutrient which tends to play an important role in most diseases, particularly the infectious ones.
For instance, vitamin D produces 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in the human body that fight viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
It is better to get this vitamin from food since you also get other essential nutrients.
Foods rich in vitamin C include;
- red kidney beans;
Since this infection is viral in nature, antibiotics are useless and should be avoided, unless your doctor diagnoses a serious secondary bacterial infection. Also, over use of antibiotics is believed to be the cause of an increase in more resistant strains of bacteria.