HEALTH · MEDWED with Mimi.

MEDWED WITH MIMI: THE COMMON COLD

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Hi guys! I’m so sorry we didn’t have any ‘Medwed’ post last week. I got really busy with a lot of stuffs and couldn’t find the time to write in the middle of it all. Anyway I’m happy to be back! Today, we’ll be talking about a very common symptom that we all must have experienced at some point in our lives. The common cold.

We can all agree that despite how harmless common cold seems, it can be very uncomfortable. Common cold, also known simply as cold, is an infection of the respiratory tract that is usually characterised by sneezing, runny nose or congestion, cough and sometimes sore throat.

TRANSMISSION
Over 200 virus strains are implicated in the cause of the common cold; the rhinoviruses are the most common. They spread through air, close contact or by direct transfer of the virus from the environment to the nose or mouth. A major risk factor for common cold is inadequate sleep and the symptoms are mostly due to the body’s immune response to the infection. The reason for the frequency of common cold is that since there is really no cure, the viruses do not get completely ready eradicated from the body. Therefore when conditions are favorable e.g. in a cold weather, they replicate and cause a re-infection.

PATHOPHYSIOLOGY
As I said earlier, there is no cure for common cold. The treatment however has two goals: to make you feel better and to help you fight off the virus. The symptoms of the common cold are believed to be primarily as a result of the body’s immune response to the virus. It binds to human receptors through unknown mechanisms to trigger the release of inflammatory mediators.These inflammatory mediators are responsible for the symptoms experienced.

TREATMENT FOR COMMON COLD
• Lots of rest is the key to effectively treating a cold. You may find that you need up to 12 hours of sleep each night, so don’t set that alarm. You’ll be most comfortable in a warm, humid environment.
• It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. This makes mucus flow more freely thus easing congestion.
• For aches and pains, which may sometimes be accompanied by fever, take over the counter pain reliefs. If your throat is sore, gargle as often as you like with salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 cup water).
• Home remedies include the use of ginger, pepper, vitamin C and honey.

ATTENTION
• Think twice before using heavily advertised over-the-counter cold and flu medications which may contain drugs for symptoms that you don’t have and resulting in needless over treatment.
• Over-the-counter decongestants containing pseudo-ephedrine can help dry and clear nasal passages, but only temporarily. Decongestant nasal sprays are also helpful but may cause a “rebound” effect (more mucus and worse congestion) if used for more than five days. Pseudo-ephedrine may increase blood pressure and heart rate, so do not take it without first checking with your doctor especially if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, prostate problems, diabetes, or thyroid problems.
• Antibiotics are not a good remedy for colds. As earlier stated, colds are caused by viruses whereas antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections.

So when next you catch a cold, be sure to treat it the right way. Until next time, stay healthy!

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