Common cold care and preventions


Common cold



In this congested world, people suffer commonly from common cold. Even though it is highly contagious and annoying, because of its self- limiting nature, it is often left untreated or treated with just home remedies or with over-the-counter drugs. In case of kids, it is the No.1 reason for visiting a doctor. In case of recurrent infection, it can make one run from doctors to doctors since most of the times, most of the medicines work only for time being. Medically, it is called as upper respiratory tract infection (URI).
Incidences – Though kids suffer more often from cold than adults, no one is immune to common cold. It recurs often in people whose defence mechanism is very weak. Further, since there are more than 200 varieties of viruses which cause common cold, getting vaccination or gaining resistance against all the viruses will be very tough.
Causes – Common cold is primarily caused by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses (of more than 200 varieties). Even though it is seasonal, it is not because of cold exposure or weather. Actually, in those climates, viruses have more virulence and the environment is more favourable for them. Common cold gets transmitted through the air (by coughs or sneezes as aerosols containing viruses) and through nasal secretions. Naturally, to clear infective viruses, nasal mucosa produce excessive secretions to wash away them but those virus-containing secretions infect others easily with the contamination of hand/towels/things. Main cause for spreading is sharing and close contact.
Factors favouring repeated infection




  • Damp weather
  • Repeated cold exposure and cold drinks
  • In close contact with sufferers
  • Allergy (sensitive to pollen or dust or cold climate)
  • Structural changes in the nose/sinuses/throat
  • Tonsilitis and Adenoids
Repeated infection is more common in premature babies or children who take cough syrups constantly or often.
Symptoms – can occur in an overnight period after infection. The suffering period may be commonly between 3-5 days. Anyhow, sometimes, it can also last up to two weeks. In all those days of suffering, it is contagious. Most often, symptom of cold starts with running nose or sneezing or tickling in throat. Common symptoms are


  • Running nose
  • Stuffy nose or nasal block
  • Sneezing
  • Throat pain/sore throat/hoarseness – more in the mornings
  • Cough
  • Fatigue/Bodyache/headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Occasionally fever
  • Earache in case of severe or chronic infection
Complications – Complications occur mostly in untreated cases, allergic patients and smokers. One should also be aware that repeated infection can provide the base for sinusitis, nasal polyp, post-nasal drips, adenoids, tonsilitis, bronchitis (lower respiratory tract infection), primary complex, asthma, pneumonia, middle ear infection (CSOM).
Diagnosis is very important to cut short the course and spread of the underlying disease.
Usually discharge/sputum give a clue for diagnosis with quantity, consistency, colour, odour and thickness. One needs to rush for treatment in case of purulent or blood-stained sputum. Yellow or green discharge with odour indicates added bacterial infection.
Investigations - If cold and cough persist for more than a week, it is better to go for proper analysis and treatment with following tests.
  • X-ray of para-nasal sinuses - to rule out sinusitis
  • X-ray of chest - to rule out pneumonia or pleurisy or tuberculosis
  • Microscopic examination of sputum - to reveal causative bacteria
  • Complete blood count - to analyse complications
  • Throat swab and culture - to find out infective bacteria
Prevention - The most important measure to prevent common cold is frequent hand washing, as this can wash away bacteria and viruses that one have acquired from touching contaminated things. Also, one should avoid sharing things/towels/glasses if someone in the family has a cold.
Do
ü      Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing (with kerchiefs or towels and not with hands as it can contaminate further on touching other things).
Avoid 
Ø Contact with infected persons
Ø Smoking and dust exposure
Ø Working in areas of noxious fumes or polluted air
Ø Cold/frozen food items
 Clean
ü      Hands often with soap, especially after blowing nose and before taking food
ü      House with vacuum cleaner than by sweeping or dusting
ü      A/C air filters periodically
ü      Damp places to reduce moulds and dust mites
ü      Bedspreads, pillows, blankets, mattress, rugs, every week
ü      Carpets frequently with vacuum cleaner

Management
Take 
  • Rest with good ventilation
  • Plenty of warm fluids to dilute mucous for easy expulsion
  • Frequent light and small meal to combat vomiting and weakness
  • Steam inhalation to loosen the phlegm
  • Salt water gargling in case of throat infection
  • Proper treatment
Treatment – In spite of medications, the cold would persist for 3-5 days. Also, as cold resolves on its own over a period of time, people commonly hesitate to go for treatment unless the condition gets complicated with violent cough or fever. As antibiotics can’t treat common cold (because of viral infections), people try to avoid drugs and go with home medicines (like curcuma, honey, lemon, etc.) and throat lozenges.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has also cautioned against the use of over-the-counter drugs and cough syrups for serious side-effects (especially in children). In Allopathy, using nasal decongestants and antihistamines can give temporary relief from nasal congestion, but one should aware that they can bring a rebound of complaints with much intensity in due course. In case of repeated infection, desensitisation or immune therapy will be provided to combat infection and allergic responses.
Homeopathic approach 


Some patients continuously use nasal decongestant sprays and cough syrups to control cold. They should be aware that it cannot eradicate cold and further arresting cough or running nose instantly is like adding disease to the complaint. Hence, there will be chances of complication or re-infection which may be felt as continuous or repeated attacks of cold. 
In spite of a wide variety of viruses, to remain healthy, tolerance (i.e., raised immune mechanism) and good health are must. For that, Homeopathy can surely help, so if you feel “always sick with cold” try Homeopathy. In Homeopathy, we treat patients (symptoms of the patients) and not the disease or viruses. Homeopathy treats the constitution and improves immunity. For remarkable improvement and overall immunity, if one happens to take Homeopathy treatment, recurrence as well as the sufferings (cough, running nose, sneezing) can be reduced drastically. Homeopathy can help improve school/college/office attendance of the sufferer.
Homeopathic medicines commonly used in complaints of common cold are Aconite, Ars Alb, Ars iod, Anti-tart, Bacillinum, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calc carb, Corallium, Gelsemium, Hepar sulph, Kali bich, Kali-mur, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox, Sabadilla, Senega, Silicea, Nat-sulph, Nux vom, etc. These medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.


for new hope

Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD (Homeo)
Laxmi Homeo Clinic
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Madurai, TN 625 001
India

Tel:  +91-452-233-8833 | +91-984-319-1011 (Mob)
Fax: +91-452-233-0196
E-mail:  drcheena@yahoo.com
www.drcheena.com / www.drcheena.in

(Disclaimer - The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)

Dr Cheena

Dr Cheena

Simple notes on Drcheena

Dr S. Chidambaranathan is a compassionate and highly skilled homeopathic doctor who has been rated as the Best Homoeopathic Doctor in Madurai.

Because of him “LAXMI HOMOEO CLINIC” is a “Healing Gateway” Imparting quality treatment to his patients with dignity and utmost care.

He is always reachable and concerned for comfort of the sick to cope up with their expectation. Because of his treatment with highest standard many patients were able to avoid surgeries in many incidences. In LAXMI HOMOEO CLINIC patients are treated with dignity, kindness and respect with privacy.

Further Dr S. Chidambaranathan helps the patients to manage their health on their own and to stay independent from all sorts of medicines as much as possible.

To cope up with ever changing trends in medicine and disease management he continues to upgrade his knowledge evident by the various papers presented
in different seminars and articles published online by him.

What is homeopathy ?

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The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.

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