Know Common Cold and its Symptoms

Common cold (also known as cold, coryza etc.) is an infectious disease of upper respiratory tract (which include nose and throat) caused by virus. Generally common cold does not produce serious complications, although it may produce troublesome symptoms. Most susceptible to common cold are preschool children, although nobody (adults and healthy individuals alike) is immune to common cold. Even without any treatment common cold generally go away within a week or two. If your common cold symptoms do not go away by two weeks or they are troublesome, consult your doctor.

What are the symptoms of common cold?

Common cold can be caused by 100 to 200 different viruses; hence the symptoms of common cold may vary according to the causative virus. The symptoms of common cold are mainly related to respiratory system, such as:

  • Runny nose (nasal drip or post nasal drip)
  • Nasal congestion, due to inflammation of nasal mucosa
  • Irritation, itching or soreness of throat
  • Sneezing due to allergy
  • Loss of appetite or anorexia
  • Cough
  • Mild generalized body ache and fatigue
  • Mild headache
  • Mild or low grade fever (high fever is generally indicative of a superimposed bacterial infection)
  • Lacrimation or watering from eyes.

Common cold generally begins with mild fatigue, sneezing and mild headache. These are followed by respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, cough etc. Most of the symptoms of common cold generally appear and peak in 3-4 days and disappear in a week to 10 days, although sometimes symptoms may last as long as three weeks (may be due to different types of causative viruses).

When to see a doctor?

You should see a doctor if you have:

  • Fever more than 103 degree Fahrenheit
  • Swelling of glands and sore throat
  • Fever with cough, colored phlegm, chills
  • Symptoms (moderate to severe) lasting more than two weeks
  • If symptoms are troublesome for you, i.e. if symptoms are disturbing your daily activity, such as going to office or school for children.

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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