Information on the Common Cold


One of the symptoms of the common cold is sneezing.

The common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory passages, especially the nose and throat. It is caused by any of several types of viruses. It is quite different from influenza (the flu), which is caused by more intense viruses.

The usual symptoms are sneezing, feeling generally unwell, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and sore eyes. Other possible symptoms are headache, hoarseness, and fever, with general aches and pains.

If you have a cold then you have contracted a virus, possibly from another sufferer who may have coughed or sneezed in close proximity to you. Living a hygienic lifestyle and maintaining cleanliness is part of prevention. Do your part by covering your mouth and nose with tissue when sneezing and washing hands frequently to limit spread of illness.

There is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are of no use for viral infections and are only useful for certain complications. Fortunately, the body’s immune system eventually is able to fight the virus by making antibodies. This takes several days.


Taking an average of 1-2 grams a day of vitamin C may help you recover more quickly from a cold.

There are several things you can do to feel more comfortable, and to help your body’s immune system:
Rest. It is important to have plenty of sleep and rest when you have a cold. Physical activity puts extra demands on the immune system
Analgesics such as paracetamol and aspirin have several useful effects: they control fever and inflammation, and they are effective pain-killers. The adult dose of paracetamol or aspirin is two tablets every four hours (up to a maximum of eight per day)
A blocked nose can be considerably helped by inhaling steam. One way is to put boiled water into a basin with menthol or friar’s balsam, then put a towel over your head and breathe the steam in through your nose and out through your mouth
Usually coughing is the best way to clear away unwanted material. If you have a dry cough, however, and it is very distressing, you may suppress it with a cough mixture. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about this
Gargling aspirin in water or lemon juice can soothe a sore throat
Some people claim that taking large doses of vitamin C helps them recover more quickly from a cold. An average dose is 1-2 grams a day
Your cold can clear up in a few days but more severe colds may last up to 10 days. Sometimes a bacterial complication may arise which will then require the use of antibiotics. If you suffer from any of the following, you should make an appointment to see the doctor: a sore ear; chest pain or difficulty in breathing; a lot of green mucus from your chest or nose; a sore throat without other symptoms.

Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are important to keep your immune system in tiptop shape.

The health information above is provided courtesy of International SOS


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