What causes a common cold?
You know the signs, runny nose, itchy throat, and you’ve been tired for the last couple days, you have what is known as the common cold. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of what we all know as the common cold.
The common cold happens in cases numbering over an estimated billion people in America each year. It’s passed along from person to person by common contact with various surfaces and even through airborne droplets. The cold itself is a virus or in the scientific world, is caused by over 200 different viruses that can be transmitted to the human body. Therefore you get the common cold because someone else had it first. Next were going to take a look at the common ways people catch the common cold.
The common cold is a virus, meaning you catch the cold by having contact with someone who already has the virus. You may catch the virus straight from the individual, whether from touching bodily secretions straight from the person or a surface. The surface can be any common area such as a handrail, a doorknob, or desk even pens or pencils passed along at a workplace could result in a passing contaminant. Once an infected individual makes contact with any of these surfaces it is possible for them, through secretions, to spread the virus. It’s not only through contact or indirect contact that the virus is spread. It is through bodily secretions that the virus is spread or as aforementioned, droplets. When someone who is contaminated sneezes, coughs or even spits, this not only infects the surface in the direct vicinity of the individual who had to sneeze, but it contaminates the air in the immediate area around this individual, and the virus can be spread just as easily.
The virus is able to get into the body a number of ways, before we discussed the direct and indirect ways that the virus is spread however this doesn’t exactly explain how the virus makes it into one’s body. When someone contaminated touches a surface this doesn’t automatically mean the next person to touch the surface is going to become infected. There are other surrounding parameters that conclude the possibility or the likely hood of one catching a virus such as age as well as the status of the individual’s auto immune system. More often than not it takes the virus getting onto the individuals hand from one surface and being transported to an open bodily orifice such as the nose, eyes or even mouth. Another way for the virus to enter the body is through the lungs. The virus is passed through droplets, if someone coughs or sneezes the surrounding air becomes contaminated with the virus which can then be inhaled by a passerby. If someone ingests someone’s saliva the virus can be transferred this way as well.
Knowing where the cold comes from can prevent us all from becoming sick. If you know anyone suffering from a fever, runny nose and sore throat give them their space, try not touch any common surfaces and make sure to wash your hands as often as possible. Luckily the average cold only lasts a week.
Working through the common cold
The common cold also known as an “upper respiratory infection” can be caused by more than 200 different viruses, which are constantly changing. This makes it the #1 affliction in the world. Children, because they are so tactile, always touching things and putting them in their mouths, will suffer from 6-10 colds a year. Most adults can expect to be infected 3-5 times in a year. More than 1 billion cases will be reported in the U.S. this year alone. If you come into contact with a person who is already infected you will most likely “catch a cold”. It causes a runny or stuffy nose and sneezing. It can be accompanied by a sore throat, aches and pains and general “blah” feeling A cold can last from 5 – 14 days, and has no sure -fire cure. The quest for a cure is never-ending, but in the meantime there are things you can do to pass the time more comfortably.
Nowadays science has presented us with man-made solutions for those folks who can’t let the bug keep them down. There are more than 200 Over the Counter remedies available to clear your sinuses, reduce your fever, and alleviate you aches and pains, help you sleep, keep you awake, and calm your cough. They come in pill form, liquid, mist, powders and salves. There is even a relatively new prescription drug that promises to shorten your colds duration by more than half. For the modern man on the go these solutions seem like the obvious choice.
But obvious is not always the best. Plenty of rest, fluids, and healthy eating are a reliable way to weather the common cold. These tried and true methods have been used by families for generations.
You should intake 80 ounces of liquids a day. It can come in the form of sports drinks, tea, coffee, soup or any drink you enjoy. This will keep you hydrated and breakup the formation of congestion in your chest and nose.
Eating plenty of red, dark green and yellow/orange fruits and veggies boosts your vitamin c and strengthens your immune system helping fight off your cold. Plenty of rest allows your body’s immune system to “re-group” If you have to go to work, be considerate of those around you.
Wash your hands often, using soap and hot water. Clean common areas you touch with an alcohol wipe, and use a tissue if you sneeze or cough. Even if you are taking an “OTC” medicine, or something prescribed by your doctor, following the above regimen is still a worthwhile idea! Even Doctors agree that nothing take the place of rest, chicken soup, and nice cup of tea! From the busiest executive to the driver on your bus everyone has time for soup for lunch, tea in the afternoon, and a 15 minute power nap.
Don’t let a common cold get the best of you!
When winter sets in and the weather changes, we all know its cold season. But did you know the common cold is caused by more than 200 types of virus? Because so many different viruses can cause the common cold, and new cold viruses constantly pop up, we never build up resistance to all of them.
It is, by far, the most recurring illness in the world. It is estimated that individuals in the United States alone suffer from a whopping 1 billion colds a year! No matter if your plans are work or play you can’t afford to let the common cold get you down. University of Arizona scientists have proved that it only takes 4 hours for these pesky germs to spread when you are in a public setting whether it is school, work, or shopping at the mall. But don’t despair! Here are a few simple steps you can take to stay healthy.
1- Practice Random acts of cleanliness! Those nasty little germs stick to everything and can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours! The last person to touch that door handle, phone, or even the book you are reading could be a harbinger of bacteria. Frequent hand washing is a must! Proper hand washing, with soap and warm water is best. Be sure to rub your hands together for 20 seconds for maximum effect. A good measure and excellent way to teach children is to sing “Happy Birthday “while washing. When possible, dry off with a paper towel, and use that to turn off the faucet and open the door to avoid touching the handles. If you can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes will suffice. Be sure to use those alcohol wipes to clean communal surfaces like computer keyboards, phones, and handles. Don’t eat, drink after or share personal items with anyone you think might be infected. These simple steps can save you a week of misery.
2- Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”! Not only is healthy eating a preventative for high blood pressure, diabetes and a myriad of other health issues, but getting a daily dose of phytochemicals found in dark green, yellow and red fruits and veggies keeps colds at bay. Excellent sources are spinach, carrots, broccoli, and pumpkin, leafy greens, melons and citrus fruits just to name a few. An apple a day really will keep the doctor away!
3- Stay active! Aerobic exercise which is anything that gets your heart pumping which boosts your immune system. You don’t need to join a gym or invest in pricey equipment. Some wonderful ways to keep active are taking a walk with a loved one to enjoy the beautiful scenery, bicycling, play a game of catch with the kids, or take your faithful dog out for a brisk walk.
If you follow these three simple tips you can breeze through this winter season happy, healthy, and cold free!
To sneeze or not sneeze? The facts about colds and allergies
could be a handshake from an infected co-worker, the handle on the coffee pot, telephone receiver, a doorknob, or the air born spore from and uncovered cough or sneeze. Your body’s immune system goes into high gear to ward off the attacker- hence your stuffy nose, congestion. And in rare cases –fever. Cold viruses are contagious and last 5-14 days. You can spread it by coughing, sneezing, or even touching a hard surface with a hand that previously touched you face (nose or mouth). Washing your hands, often and using tissues are simple solutions to help stop this.
Nasal allergies affect 50 million people in the United States and that number is on the rise. Allergies are brought on by an irritant, or “allergy trigger” that causes your immune system to mistake it for a germ and attacks it. Unlike a cold, results are instant. Sneezing, watery-eyes, stuffy nose, and in rare cases, coughing will begin within minutes of contact with the allergy trigger. The length of the attack depends on how quickly you get away from the offending allergen. Anything can be an allergy trigger – natural or man-made. Plants, grass, animal hair, perfumes, air-born mold spores, cleaners, air fresheners, and chemicals just to name a few.
Nasal allergies can mimic the common cold, and both afflict you with sneezing and a stuffy nose. Here are several inherent differences that can help you tell the difference and thus plan your course of treatment based on the facts.
- Colds are spread by germs; allergies are your body’s defense system mistaking the allergy triggers for a germ.
- Colds will last 5-14 days. Allergies last until the offending allergy trigger is removed. Ex. – a plant you are allergic to quits blooming.
- Colds can be accompanied by aches and fever. Allergies are never accompanied by fever or aches.
- Colds do not exhibit itchy watery eyes, allergies almost always do.
- Colds are often accompanied by a cough and sore throat. These symptoms are rare with allergies.
- Colds are highly contagious, while allergies are not.
Knowing whether you have a cold or allergy can help you; make an informed decision as to your next course of action. Whether you choose to consult a professional, or devise your own treatment, knowing the difference gives you the upper hand.