The common cold is a viral infection involving the upper respiratory tract. Colds are most often caused by one of over 100 types of rhinoviruses. In some cases, the influenza and parainfluenza virus can manifest as a common cold. Symptoms include a scratchy throat, runny nose, cough, and the absence of fever. If you have a history of asthma or bronchitis, symptoms tend to be exacerbated. Symptoms from uncomplicated colds can usually resolve within 10 days.
Cold and flu season in the Philippines occurs during the tag-ulan (rainy) months of June through August. Viruses responsible for the common cold are most efficiently spread by direct person-to-person contact, although it’s also possible to spread via aerosoliization (travel through the air) of large particles.
People who are immunocompromised (have weak immune systems) due to certain prescription drugs, poor nutrition, or a pre-existing condition are more prone to common colds than the average Joe and Jane. School employees (particularly teachers of young children) and workers of public transportation, malls, or other high-traffic areas also run a higher risk of infection.
Antibiotics should not be given as treatment for the common cold unless there is evidence of a secondary bacterial infection. There is no specific treatment for the common cold, but pain relievers and nasal decongestants provide symptomatic relief until the illness subsides.
Here are 10 tips to help you dodge the common cold.
(Photo by taylor n via Flickr Creative Commons)