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Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
The common cold is the most common upper respiratory infection amongst people. Specifically, the rhinovirus causes it to occur. The nose and upper airways become infected and children are more prone to this. But, symptoms generally improve within a week or two. Unfortunately, immunization against the common cold is not possible. In fact, this is due to a variety of infections that can occur. Most upper respiratory tract infections (URTI’s), such as laryngitis and bronchitis, are from viruses. Laryngitis is the infection of the throat. Bronchitis is the infection of the airways and lungs. This article includes information on how to treat a cold.
A common symptom of a common cold can include a stuffy and blocked nose. Additionally, frequent sneezing paired with a runny nose are also symptoms. To add, runny nose may include clear mucus. Consequently, the mucus may turn thick and yellowish-green after 2-3 days. As a result, one may feel irritable and weak as the common cold may disrupt one’s sleep during the night. Further, one may also have a cough and or a mild fever. Most URTIs do not cause complications.
How to treat a common cold
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Antibiotics or not
The immune system of our body is capable of clearing the infection, however, antibiotics should be avoided in the initial stage of infection. Antibiotics do not kill viruses and are only good for bacterial infection. Hence, they do not hasten the recovery from a URTI. They might make your symptoms worse, as some people develop side-effects such as diarrhea, rashes or dizziness. Antibiotics should be prescribed by a doctor if there’s a presence of an underlying (chronic) lung disease. In the case of complications like pneumonia, antibiotics are helpful.
Natural cure– To boost immunity, one should increase the use of garlic and foods rich in Vitamin C. Foods may include: lemons, citrus fruits, pineapple, etc. Additionally, other helpful remedies include Zinc, Echinacea or Chinese herbs.
Prevention of URTIs
Prevention is in general difficult as many viruses are present in the air, which you cannot avoid. However, if you suffer from a URTI please ensure you do not spread it to other healthy individuals by,
- Not getting too close to others – for example, kissing, hugging, etc.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid sharing towels, flannels, and pillows.
Basically, common sense and good hygiene prevent the passing on of common cold viruses.
Physical Activity or Exercise is helpful
Recent research shows that people who are physically active and exercise regularly are less likely to get URTIs. This may be because exercise boosts the immune system which in turn helps fight infections.