Runny nose, sneezing cough, slight fever, chills – very common but highly contagious diseases. At the beginning of winter, the prevalence of this disease increases as the temperature of the environment decreases.
How it happens: This disease is caused by different types of viruses. But in most cases, colds are caused by respiratory tract infection with rhinovirus. Other viruses include coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.
Symptoms: The symptoms of this disease are mild in older children and adults. But in young children it can be obvious. Symptoms may include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, body aches, slight fever, red eyes, loss of appetite, headache, etc. Symptoms appear within a few days after the virus enters the body. And usually, the disease gets better within a week. But complications arise in many cases. Lung infection in small children can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia. May be inflammation of the middle ear. Adults can get sinusitis.
How it spreads: The virus can spread very quickly from an infected patient to a healthy person. When patients sneeze or blow their nose, the virus is spread into the air as tiny particles.
They can enter the body of healthy people through inhalation. And when the patient wipes his nose with his hand, covers his mouth with his hand or handkerchief, and sneezes and coughs, then the virus gets on the hand or handkerchief. The virus can survive on hands and handkerchiefs for several hours.
When a sick person touches or shakes hands with a healthy person with infected hands, the healthy person becomes infected. Even healthy people can be infected with the virus from handkerchiefs or similar objects. The disease spreads rapidly in densely populated areas. Students in school-college or other educational institutions are more affected. Children are usually infected from friends, fathers, mothers, and siblings. There are more than 100 different types of rhinovirus. Due to this, the body of a person infected with this virus does not develop complete immunity. A person can be affected several times in the same year.
Treatment: The disease usually gets better within a week. However, people with rhinovirus need to rest. Clean water should be enough to drink. Colds should be cleaned regularly and the nostrils should be kept open. Hot water vapor or normal saline, nasal drops help keep the nostrils open. Cigarette smoke or cooking smoke in the home is an added nuisance for cold patients. Smoking should be completely stopped. Antihistamines to reduce runny noses and paracetamol-like medicines for pain and fever can be taken on the doctor’s advice. Any complications including bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children must be referred to a doctor.
It can be easily prevented: washing hands frequently, not blowing the nose, covering the nose and mouth with a handkerchief or hands when sneezing and coughing, and not coming in contact with the infected person – these steps can prevent the disease to a large extent.