Several viruses cause the common cold, and it is a self-limited contagious infection. Medically the common cold is referred as upper respiratory tract infection. It is transmitted by direct contact with infected secretions or infected airborne droplets. The common cold isn’t caused by being in the cold for so long.
Rhino-viruses are the known culprit though there more than 200 viruses that cause the common cold. It enters the mouth through your nose, eyes, and mouth. It can be spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick sneezes, coughs or talks.
It can also be caused by sharing contaminated things like towels, utensils, telephones or toys; you are likely to get cold if you touch your nose, eyes or mouth after getting into contact with those objects. It can also be caused by hand to hand contact with someone who already has a cold.
Symptoms range from sneezing, sore throat, nasal congestion, running nose, watery eyes, and coughing. Children under six years are at risk of contracting colds than healthy adult individuals who get a cold once or twice a year.
These are the factors that will increase the chances of getting the common cold.
Time of the year; in the winter and fall time, both children and adults are susceptible to colds.
Age; Children below six years are at more risk of getting cold especially if they have are going to school or they spend time in a day care.
Exposure; You are likely to be exposed to viruses that cause the common cold if you go to school or in public places where there are many people.
Weakened immune system; a weak immune system or having chronic illness increases the chances of getting the common cold.
When to see a doctor
-Fever that lasts more than two days or rising fever.
-A severe cough or a headache
-Lack of appetite.
-Symptoms fail to improve or worsen.
Make sure you seek medical attention if you observe the above signs. If you children don’t have those symptoms, it is not a must to visit the doctor if they have a cold.
Ensure you see a doctor if;
-Shortness of breath.
-A severe headache, sore throat or sinus pain.
-Fever greater than 38.5 C.
– Fever that lasts for more than five days.
It is advised to see the doctor if your cold persists as it can lead to pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and acute bacterial sinusitis if it stays untreated.