Common cold: causes, symptoms and treatment

Common cold symptoms, Causes and treatment

Runny nose, sneezing … Uncomfortable and tiring, common cold usually heals spontaneously in a few days. It is mainly of allergic or viral origin. It is then commonly referred to as the common cold (rhinitis). In this article we will talk about :  common cold symptoms, causes and treatment.

Common cold Definition

The common cold signates an inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa (tissue that covers the inside of the nose). The inflammation causes a runny nose accompanied by various symptoms (itching, sneezing, etc.).

There is a particular form of rhinitis: the common cold , which is actually a viral condition. Rhinitis or common cold are the most common winter infections and are mild.

The different types of common cold

We distinguish:

  • the acute rhinitis : usually short, it combines edema and congestion of the nasal mucosa (accumulation of blood in the vessels that increase volume). It results in a flow and obturation of the nostrils. Infectious rhinitis usually has these symptoms;
  • the chronic rhinitis : it extends for more than three months and is often a continuation of acute rhinitis. Frequently, it is an allergic rhinitis;
  • the non-allergic vasomotor rhinitis , like allergic rhinitis, is related to an imbalance of the nervous system;
  • the seasonal allergic rhinitis (which occurs at a particular time of year, and called hay fever ) or permanent;
  • the atrophic rhinitis causes a mucosa atrophied which hardens. It can occur in the elderly or in certain specific pathologies.

Common cold Causes

Common cold

The causes of common cold are multiple.

Common cold can be caused by:

  • a virus : in the case of common cold, more than a hundred viruses may be involved, the most frequent being rhinoviruses;
  • a bacteria ;
  • the presence of respiratory irritants (smoke, etc.);
  • of allergens (elements originally an allergy);
  • a foreign body;
  • a malformation of the nasal septum …

What is common cold contagious for?

When Common cold is of viral origin, it is very contagious: common cold are transmitted by air , via the saliva drops projected during sneezing or speaking, but also by hand to hand contact or via contaminated objects.

Common cold symptoms

The symptoms of common cold are:

  • a clear or purulent runny nose , of variable and sometimes hemorrhagic importance;
  • a stuffy nose ;
  • an itchy feeling that can cause sneezing and watery eyes;
  • a decrease in smell;
  • a foul odor can emanate from the nostrils (ozene), especially for atrophic common cold .

The infectious common cold can be associated with other signs:

  • fever (rare, except for severe disease and underlying disease);
  • a cough ;
  • otitis ;
  • sinusitis …

The allergic rhinitis , and infectious rhinitis may be accompanied by conjunctivitis.

Prevention Councils

The prevention of rhinitis largely depends on its cause. So some measures can be implemented in the case of a viral or allergic common cold .

Rhinitis is of viral origin (common cold):

To avoid transmitting the virus or to protect yourself from an infected person:

  • wash your hands very regularly as this reduces the risk of spreading infectious agents;
  • sneeze into a handkerchief or failing that into his elbow;
  • wear a mask, especially if you have a common cold and are taking care of a baby.
Rhinitis is of allergic origin (hay fever)

To protect yourself from pollens:

  • wear a mask when gardening;
  • avoid mowing the lawn yourself;
  • ventilate the house early in the morning because the amount of pollen is lower in the air.

It is recommended to quit smoking, especially in the presence of children because passive smoking is a risk factor for allergy.

During the medical examination, the doctor quickly establishes the diagnosis of rhinitis or common cold.

Sometimes it may be necessary to perform additional examinations to find out

  • an allergy ( skin allergy tests );
  • an infectious agent…

Common cold treatment

 Common cold  Treatments

The treatment for rhinitis or common cold is different depending on its cause.So, we find :

Treat viral rhinitis:

The nose wash (with physiological saline, a spray of seawater or sulfur) is the essential gesture to evacuate secretions and viruses.

The oral vasoconstrictor (Actifed, Dolirhume …) or nasal (Rhinofluimicil) decongestant effect today singled out because of their potentially serious side effects. Many contraindications exist (under 15 years of age, history of cardiovascular disease or convulsions, etc.).

Treat allergic rhinitis

Oral antihistamines , local mast cell anti-granulants (reducing inflammation), or nasal corticosteroids are generally offered . Some chronic allergic rhinitis can be soothed with spa treatment. Desensitization (exposure to the allergen in question in progressive doses, orally or through injections) is most often effective.

Treat atrophic rhinitis

Local antibiotics are combined with vitamins. So, surgery is sometimes necessary with a recalibration of the nasal cavities by the implantation.

Homeopathy against rhinitis

Homeopathy can be useful in addition to suitable treatment. It is possible to take:

  • when the rhinitis is due to a common cold spell: Aconium napellus 5 CH, 2 granules 3 times a day;
  • when caused by an allergy: Histaminum 5 CH, 2 granules 3 times a day.
Phytotherapy against viral rhinitis ( common cold )

As soon as the first common cold appear , take:

  • in infusion, chamomile dried flowers. Put 20 g in 1 liter of water, let steep for 30 minutes. Then, drink a cup with lemon juice every 2 hours, alternating with lemon verbena leaves. Put 15 g in 1 liter of water, let steep for 10 minutes. 1 cup every intermediate hour;
  • as a decoction : alcohol-free grog, 2 cinnamon sticks + 2 cloves for 0.5 liters of water. Bring to the boil for 3 minutes, add thyme 30 g, let steep for 10 minutes. Drink very hot with lemon and honey.

When the common cold is evident , take:

  • in infusion: borage leaves / flowers / young stems. Put 20 to 40 g in 1 liter of water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes, filter. 3 to 4 cups every 2 hours;
  • in infusion: a mixture of plants associating thyme 20 g, borage flowers 10 g, marjoram 10 g, hyssop 10 g, white broth 10 g. Put 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mixture in 1 liter of water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Several cups a day;
  • in decoction: coriander seeds. Put 30 g in 1 liter of water, bring to the boil for only 1 minute, filter 2 to 3 cups per 24 hours.

Good to know :

  • the thyme , the flower of black elderberry and echinacea are plants recognized by the World Health Organization to treat common cold.
  • for all airway infections (nose, throat, bronchi, lungs …), sweeten the herbal teas with honey and add lemon juice.
Aromatherapy for viral rhinitis ( common cold )

The essential oils of eucalyptus , niaouli, lavender, Scots pine, ravintsara and thyme have a recognized antiviral power. So, to make the most of it, it is best to use it directly on a tissue (2 drops), to breathe three or four times a day.

In addition, consider inhalations (6 drops in a bowl of boiling water). There are respiratory mixtures ready to dilute.

In all cases, we use these essential oils neither in children under 7 years old, nor in pregnant women.

Naturopathy against viral rhinitis (common cold)

In case of common cold, it may be useful to follow these naturopathic tips:

  • drink infusions of grated fresh ginger with a teaspoon of powdered acerola;
  • think of hot cinnamon wines and infusions of cinnamon, licorice, sage, chamomile, lavender;
  • drink hot because the vapor clears the respiratory tract;
  • drink chicken (or poultry) broths as they rehydrate the body, decongest the upper airways and boost immunity.

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