What is a cold?
A cold is simply a viral infection that has affected the person, often in the nose and ears. There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold, thus it is hard to determine where a person received this. In most cases, colds are not serious and last for a few days. Children who are under the age of three often get colds more often than adults and older children due to their immune system not being as strong.
How does it spread?
Colds are usually spread when the virus is present in the environment. For example, if a person were to cough or sneeze in the air, and another person comes into contact with this. This can also be spread through greeting someone who has touched their eyes, mouth or ears and have the virus. Most commonly, you will find that colds are spread easily through schools and day cars due to the number of children and bad hygiene that is present. Viruses can survive around 18 hours; thus, this is why the cold virus is so easy to spread.
Signs of a common cold
There are several signs of a cold. These signs include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
These can last for up to 10 days, depending upon how your immune system is. Children who have yellow or green discharge or a fever should be seen by their doctor.
When to visit a doctor
In most cases, adults are going to find that a trip to the doctor would be useless when they have a cold. That is unless they have some existing medical condition that has become worse due to this cold. Children who are three years of age and below may need to be monitored by their doctor to ensure that this does not turn into a chest infection. Children who have:
- Breathing issues
- Severe headaches
- High fever that is not responding to medication
- Colored nose discharge
- Frequent vomiting
These children will need to be seen by a doctor.
There is no medication that is known for helping in treating colds. Instead, it is best for everyone to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. There are medications to help ease symptoms which you can talk with a doctor about using, especially in children. Painkillers are often used to help ease fevers and pain that is associated with having a cold.