Upper respiratory infection (URI) is also known as common cold, one of the most common illnesses that lead to more doctor visits and absences from school and work than any other illness (Treating Respiratory Problems).
Studies calculated that, in the US, every year people will suffer one billion colds. Cold is often due to a virus that inflames the membranes in the lining of the nose and throat, colds can be the result of more than 200 different viruses. Among all the cold viruses, coronaviruses and coronaviruses cause majority of the colds.
When is the cold season?
Children are more prone to get colds during fall and winter, starting in late August or early September until March or April. Higher incidence of common colds during this season is due to most of the cold viruses live in low humidity and makes your nasal passages drier and more susceptible to the infection.
How does cold occur?
There are more than 200 different viruses that can cause cold. Rhinovirus is the most common cold virus. Once the virus enters into your body, it starts a reaction. Your immune system starts to react to the foreign virus and can cause:
- Swelling of the lining of the nose
- Increased mucus production
- Red, watery, and sore eyes
- Runny or stuffed up nose
- Chills and fever
- Tired or restless
- Decreased hunger or thirst
- Headache, body aches, or sore muscles
- Sore throat, you may become hoarse (lose your voice) for a few days
Is cold different from the flu?
Yes, these are two different illnesses. Cold is harmless and after some period of time, it goes away on its own. But, occasionally, it can lead to secondary infection like ear infection.
Flu can also be a harmless condition, but if untreated it can become more complicated such as pneumonia and may also death.
Who can be at greater risk?
Every year, children suffer from more colds when compared to adults because they have immature immune systems. An average child may have 6-10 colds every year, whereas an average adult can have 2-4 colds every year.
How cold can be diagnosed?
Depending on the reported symptoms, the condition can be diagnosed. But, symptoms of cold are somewhat similar to other conditions such as allergies, bacterial infection and various other medical conditions.
How the condition can be treated?
It is the fact that there is no cure for common colds. Antibiotics that are used only help to relieve the symptoms but they can not treat the cold. So, treatment is only to help with the symptoms. When you consult your medical professional, there are some specific conditions that can be taken into consideration such as:
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance level to specific medications, therapies or procedures
- Your age
- Predictions for the course of the disease
Also, your doctor suggests you to increase the fluid intake as it can make the lining of the nose moist and prevents dehydration.
Are there any complications of having a cold?
Yes, there some complication that a cold can lead to:
- Ear infection
- Throat infection
- Sinus infection