Common Cold

Common colds, also referred medically as rhinitis or acute coryza, is an upper respiratory tract infection that is characterized by a runny nose which may be also stuffy and post-nasal drip. The common cold results from inflammation of the mucous membrane around the nasal cavity producing thin mucous. This may later cause a development of secondary bacterial infections. Common colds are classified into two types, allergic and nonallergic.

Common Cold Drugs

Common Cold Symptoms

Symptoms surrounding common cold may vary from nasal congestion to very complex ones. Below you will find a list of the symptoms associated with common cold. You may experience some these symptoms or most of them whenever you suffer a common cold. Note that there may be more common cold symptoms than listed here.

  • Running nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lip sores
  • Rashes
  • Nasal polyps
  • Dryness of the mouth

Common Cold Causes

Common colds are mainly caused by either an exposure to an allergen or a substance or viruses with the former being the most common. Common colds are also contagious and can easily be spread through droplets to a susceptible host. Below you will find some of the causes of a common cold. Causes of allergic rhinitis

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Chemicals e.g. detergents and chlorine
  • Smoke
  • Perfume
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

Causes of non-allergic rhinitis

  • Rhinovirus
  • Influenza viruses
  • Adenovirus
  • Coronaviruses
  • Metapneumovirus
  • Measles virus
  • Human parainfluenza viruses
  • Enterovirus
  • Human respiratory syncytial virus
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Moraxella catarrhalis
  • Streptococcal pneumonia

Common Cold Diagnosis

Typically, common colds are self-diagnosed. This is because they are usually not very serious and do not require a doctor’s visit. If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms of a cold, it is usually safe to assume that you have a cold. If your cold symptoms last longer than 7-10 days, it is suggested that you visit a doctor for further diagnosis. Below you will find some of the symptoms associated with cold diagnosis.

  • Running nose
  • Stuffy nose/ nasal blockage
  • Mild-moderate headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever or elevated body temperatures
  • There may be an irritating and non-productive cough
  • There may or not be a history of contact with a person with common cold or an allergen

Chest examination

  • The chest will be moving adequately and symmetrically with respiration
  • There will be no added sounds on auscultation

Common Cold Treatment

Common colds usually dissipate on their own in time. However, there are certain treatments that may minimize symptoms or shorten the length of a cold. Below are the guidelines used in the management of common colds: Allergic Rhinitis Environmental management

  • Avoid allergens at all costs. These may range from pollen grains and outdoor molds to smoke, chemicals and perfumes which trigger an allergic reaction

Pharmacological management

  • Analgesics such as acetaminophen to allay fever
  • Decongestants e.g. Triohist
  • Intranasal steroid spray
  • Antihistamine e.g. Chlorpheniramine for a maximum of 3 days
  • An antibiotic may be recommended if there is evidence of secondary bacterial infection

Non-Allergic Rhinitis

  • Nasal douching and irrigation – Sodium Chloride solution either homemade or bought over the counter should do the trick.
  • Nasal sprays – These sprays contain antihistamine, corticosteroid and decongestants and help a great deal in the management of common cold