Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Viral rhinitis is one of the most common infectious diseases in humans. The infection is usually mild and improves without treatment.
The common cold is an upper respiratory infection that is caused by several families of viruses. Within these virus families, more than 200 specific viruses that can cause the common cold have been identified. The virus family that causes the most colds is called rhinovirus. Rhinoviruses cause up to 40% of colds, and this virus family has at least 100 distinct virus types in its group. Other important upper respiratory virus families are named coronavirus, adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. Since so many viruses can cause cold symptoms, development of a vaccine for the common cold has not been possible.
Rhinoviruses cause most colds in the early fall and spring. Other viruses tend to cause winter colds and their symptoms can be more debilitating. There is no evidence that going out in cold or rainy weather makes you more likely to catch a cold.
The viruses that cause the common cold are transmitted presumably by direct person-to-person contact or by inhalation of airborne droplets. More importantly, the viruses are transmitted indirectly by hands and articles freshly soiled by discharges of the nose and throat of an infected person. Rhinovirus, and other similar viruses, is transmitted by contaminated hands carrying viruses to the mucous membranes of the eye or nose. The virus concentration in respiratory secretions is usually highest up to 7 to 10 days before a person develops symptoms of illness. Virus continue to be present in respiratory secretions for 2 to 3 days after symptoms begin. Students and staff have already spread viruses before they begin to feel ill.
Thin mucus discharge from the nose (runny nose).
Itchy, stuffed sensation in the ears.
Aches and pains.
Most people diagnose the viral rhinitis by the typical symptoms of runny nose, congestion and sneezing. Usually it isn't necessary for you to see a health care provider. You should see a doctor if you develop a high fever, severe sinus pain, ear pain, shortness of breath or new wheezing. These are symptoms that suggest you either have something other than a cold or a complication of the cold.
Although medical therapies can improve the symptoms of the common cold, they do not prevent, cure or shorten the illness. Drink enough fluids, get plenty of rest and treat your symptoms to keep yourself as comfortable as possible. Gargling warm salt water can soothe a sore throat. Inhaling steam may improve nasal congestion temporarily. Over-the-counter cold remedies that contain a decongestant will help to dry secretions and relieve congestion. These remedies may also relieve cough, if the cough is triggered by mucus in the throat. Antihistamines may improve the symptoms of runny nose and watery eyes, but they should be used with care because over-the-counter versions cause sedation. Over-the-counter cough suppressants do not have a proven benefit, but some people feel that they are helpful. It is important to keep in mind that antibiotics do not cure the common cold or shorten the length of time that symptoms last. Vitamin C and echinacea (a frequently used herbal therapy) have been widely rumored to decrease the likelihood of developing the common cold and to shorten symptoms, but no conclusive research has shown that this is true. Zinc-containing products advertised to treat the common cold remain popular. Some studies suggest that zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of symptoms, but questions remain regarding the best and safest dose.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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