The respiratory tract is divided into the upper airways and lower airways. The upper airways or upper respiratory tract includes the nose and nasal passages, paranasal sinuses, the pharynx, and the portion of the larynx above the vocal folds (cords). The lower airways or lower respiratory tract includes the portion of the larynx below the vocal folds, trachea, bronchi and bronchioles.
The common cold is the most frequently occurring disease in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work.
Symptoms of Common cold
The typical symptoms of a cold include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
Course of disease
The common cold is generally mild and self-limiting with most symptoms generally improving in a week.
A cold usually begins with fatigue, a feeling of being chilled, sneezing, and a headache, followed in a couple of days by a runny nose and cough. Symptoms may begin within sixteen hours of exposure and typically peak two to four days after onset. They usually resolve in seven to ten days, but some can last for up to three weeks. The average duration of cough is eighteen days and in some cases people develop a post-viral cough which can linger after the infection is gone.
Causative organisms of Common cold
The most commonly causative virus is rhinovirus.
Other commonly implicated viruses include
- Human coronavirus
- Influenza viruses
- Human respiratory syncytial virus,
- Human parainfluenza viruses
How it spreads?
It is an infectious disease spread by airborne drops and contact with infected person. Contact with the discharges from infected person as nasal discharge, expectoration is also responsible for infection. A cold virus can live on objects such as pens, books, cell phones, computer keyboards, and coffee cups for several hours and can thus be acquired from contact with these objects.
Risk factors for Common cold
There are some common factors which increases susceptibility of a person to get infected they includes –
Age – younger are more prone to have cold as they do not have enough developed immune system and second they easily catch it from schools crutches etc.
Weather change – changes in weather is a favorable condition for viruses to get replicate because there are lots of viruses replicate in certain temperature.
Immune-compromised patients – patients with poor immunity or weak immune system are more prone for infections. These patients get easily affected and take long time to recover.
Conventional treatment for Common cold
Treatment is symptomatic, involving the use of analgesics, decongestants, and expectorants. Warm salt-water gargles may relieve sore throat pain. Adequate rest, plenty of fluids, and vitamin C are routinely included in the treatment of a cold.
How to prevent Common cold
- Limit contact with affected person especially during the first three days of their illness.
- Wash hands after contact with affected person and objects and surfaces they may have contaminated.
- Keep fingers out of the eyes and nose.
- Hand Washing plays major role in prevention as it removes viruses from the skin of the hand and fingers either by killing them or by the mechanical action of washing.
Complications of Common cold
- Ear infection include acute oitits media
Common Cold – Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies
The common cold is the most frequent infection in all age groups. Children especially contract a lot of colds. Colds are caused by a viral infection that effects the respiratory system. Colds often respond well to homeopathic remedies which is a tremendous advantage over modern medicine which has no cure for the common cold. Homeopaths generally advise that a cold or two every year is not a bad thing, as it “cleans out” the system and hence, the adage: don’t cure a cold, let a cold cure you. Still others say that you never know what your “innocent/ordinary” cold might erupt into — a flu, a pneumonia? Consequently, if you see a clear remedy picture, you might be safer giving the remedy than risking what may be down the line. Jim Henson, creator of “Sesame Street”, died from a cold gone horribly wrong. If you are finding that you are having more than two colds a year it would be advised to seek help from a professional homeopath to strengthen your immune system. Homeopathy emphasizes treating the underlying imbalance in the immune system rather than simply fighting the infection–although in the moment, fighting the infection may be the priority. Note that some of the remedies below say, “For the first stage of the cold”. So, don’t wait around to see what your cold is going to do, or you might miss the opportunity to give Aconite or Belladonna or some other first-stage remedy, which may have been your only chance to prescribe with confidence for the duration of the cold.
The following remedies may offer symptomatic relief so long as the remedy you choose is well indicated for your individual symptom picture.
Along with these remedies the most effective treatment is rest and plenty of fluids. To increase fluids, try hot water with lemon juice and a little honey is good for the extra vitamin C. Encourage a light diet of soups, fresh fruit, vegetables and plenty of fresh air. Recurrent colds in adults and children do require constitutional homeopathic treatment from your professional homeopath.
When the attack comes on suddenly after an exposure to a cold, dry wind, with chilliness, followed by fever, Aconite will be the remedy. It should be administered just as soon as the patient realizes that he is taking cold. There is as yet no discharge, but from the congestion the nose is swollen, hot, dry and stopped up, and this stoppage is apt to change from side to side; there is tingling and burning in the nose and a throbbing frontal headache; there may be sneezing also. These symptoms are all better in the open air.
It is especially useful in winter colds where there is a thin, watery discharge from the nostrils which excoriates the upper lip, yet in spite of this fluent discharge the nose feels stopped up. There is a dull, throbbing frontal headache and sneezing, photophobia, and contrary to what one would expect, the sneezing does not relieve in the slightest and the irritation continues as before and is worse on going into sir. It corresponds well to patients who are rarely without a cold. These symptoms of watery discharge and sneezing place arsenic in the front rank in the treatment of hay fever.The Arsenic patient is chilly and wants to be near the fire all the time; the nose burns both externally and internally.
One of our best remedies for cold in the head, indeed, is said by come to be the best, and probably it is when indicated. The discharge is profuse, thin and acrid, with great smarting in the nose and eyes, and the distinguishing feature between this remedy and Euphrasia is the profuse lachrymation which here is bland, and under Euphrasia is excoriating, while the opposite condition obtains in the nose. Under Allium the edges of the eyelids burn and the eyes are red and sensitive to light. The nasal discharge is thin and flows constantly, excoriates the upper lip, and there is prolonged sneezing. A peculiarity of Allium is that the discharge ceases when the patient goes into the open air, but returns when entering a warm room again. It is a drug which should be given early, and if there be a splitting laryngeal cough, causing the patient to wince and crouch with pain, it is all the more indicated.
Here the upper part only of the respiratory mucous membrane is affected. Like Allium cepa it has a copious, fluent discharge from nose, and copious lachrymation, the latter being most acrid, excoriating the cheeks, and being so profuse as to keep them wet all the time. It differs from Allium, as we have seen, in the character of the discharge, from the eyes excoriating, from the nose bland. Euphrasia is often well indicated in the coryzas which precede measles, when there is a cough which sounds decidedly measly. Eruptions on the wings of the nose.
Under Arum all of the secretions are acrid, and there is a discharge if ichorous fluid from the nose; the nostrils and lips are sore. There may be a discharge from both nose and eyes which is yellow and acrid. There is thirst, but drinking causes pain. The nostrils are sore, and there is constant desire to bore the finger into the nose. The nose may be completely stopped up, and at the same time there is a fluent acrid discharge. Drowsiness and an inclination to sneeze accompanies.
This remedy is often underestimated in the early stages of cold in the head. It will break up a cold at the beginning quicker than any other remedy with these indication: Fullness of the head, hot fever and chilliness, as if a cold were coming on. The patient is dull and weak, chills run up and down the back, with a watery, excoriating, or bland discharge from the nose and sneezing. There is also a marked inclination in the patient to hug the fire. Colds brought on by warm relaxing weather especially indicate Gelsemium, hence it seems to be most useful in spring and summer weather, and corresponds well to some epidemic colds. There is a predisposition to take cold on any change of the weather. It has been found specially useful in influenzas with fever.
The first stage of ordinary cold in the head may be met by Nux vomica, when it is brought on by damp, cold weather, or from sitting on damp, cold steps; associated with sneezing and stuffed up feeling in the nose. The nose is dry, there is very little discharge, the eyes water, and there is scraping in the throat, and dullness and oppression about the front sinuses; it should be given as soon as dryness and tickling in the nose begins; the nasal passages are alternately free and obstructed. These symptoms are worse in a warm room and better in the open air. It is of little use after the cold is established. Another symptom indicating Nux is a fluent coryza during the day and a stuffed up sensation at night.
There is a profuse coryza which extends to the frontal sinuses, burning in eyes and nose, acrid discharge, violent sneezing, and tendency to perspiration which aggravates. When a cold begins with coryza, Mercurius is a valuable remedy. Mercurius is especially aggravated in damp weather and the coryza is worse by heat of stove room; nose is sore; wiping nose is painful. The Mercury discharge is thin mucus, not thick as in Pulsatilla, Hydrastis, and some other drugs, or it may be yellowish green in color.
Pulsatilla is more indicated in an advanced stage of cold in the head, what is known as a ripe-cold, hence it should not be given at the beginning of a cold, for it is never indicated. There is no sneezing or excoriating discharge with Pulsatilla. The discharge is thick, yellow, muco-purulent, and, above all bland. Coryza with raw nose and throat; later it has the thick, yellow discharge of Pulsatilla, but the keynote of this remedy is a sensation of wetness in the nose. Thick, yellow, tenacious mucus in posterior nares, more distinctly yellow than Kali bichromicum and profuse. With the pulsatilla cold there is usually loss of smell and taste, and there is relief in the open air, even though the patient be chilly.
First stage of cold in the head when nose is stopped up and is dry, and the inspired air feels cooler than usual. It will often check an incipient cold when the chill is first felt, and is a useful remedy in chronic or rather paroxysmal coryzas, which occur upon every change of weather; it may be used by olfaction. The patient feels chilly, frontal sinuses involved, dull headache. Increased secretion of watery mucus from nose, with and without sneezing. It really comes in along with or even before Aconite, but it has not the wide range of application that Aconite has.
Thin, excoriating and very profuse, scalding discharges from the nose and coryzas, which involve the frontal sinuses. Profuse, watery discharges, call for this remedy. The eyes smart, lachrymate and become puffed. The throat is irritated and the nose is apt to be red. It is a frequently indicated remedy in chronic nasal catarrh, hypertrophic rhinitis, first fluent acrid coryza relieved by warmth, then tough, stringy, discharge; wants to blow nose; no discharge; feeling of dryness in nose.
Colds with watery, transparent discharges, causing vesicular eruptions about mouth and nose, with watery, clear frothy discharge, worse on going into colds air and on exertion; great dryness of posterior nares. There is entire loss of taste. This is the Schuessler remedy for coryzas, the watery exudations being the biochemic indication for coryzas, the watery exudations being the biochemic indication for its use. Dropping of mucus from naso-pharynx in the morning. It also removes the tendency to take cold. Clarke considers Natrum muriaticum one of the most valuable remedies we possess for colds. The use of salt baths by the old school and the popular use of salt food would seem to verify this observation.
Dry coryza renewed by slightest exposure, worse after getting wet, in the open air and at night. It suits especially those who take cold when the weather changes to a lower temperature, and so it becomes of great use in nasal catarrhs and influenzas of autumn. Colds which come on from change of weather and gradually involve the whole respiratory tract may indicate Dulcamara. “Cold sores” may accompany the colds.