15th Mar, 2016
"Hi Doctor, i have catarrh and i have been dealing with it for the past 4 days, please can you prescribe any strong antibiotics for me? I have used all sorts of antibiotics and other medications and it isn't going at all"
What is Catarrh A.K.A Common Cold?
Common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, sinuses). It clears up in 7 to 10 days, but some symptoms could persist for 21 days.
It is said to be the commonest human disease. It can be caused by over 200 different types of viruses1, this makes it possible to have episodes of cold consecutively because each episode could be caused by a different virus.
How do you get the virus?
The virus is usually passed through contact or inhalation of infected droplets i.e.
- Touching a surface or object contaminated by infected droplets, then touching your nose or mouth.
- Inhaling tiny infected droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
- Touching your nose or mouth after touching the skin of someone who has the infected droplets on their skin.
You are more likely to develop a cold if you're really tired, have allergies with nose and throat symptoms or even under emotional distress.
-Usually, people are infectious before they start showing symptoms and remain infectious till all symptoms have disappeared. These makes people infectious for about 10-14 days.
Common Signs & symptoms include:
-Stuffy or runny nose
-Cough: About 50% of cases. May last up to 18 days.
-Itchy or sore throat: About 40% of cases.
-Mild body pains and fatigue
-Loss of appetite.
-A low grade fever may be present
How do you cure it?
There is no known cure for common cold. Do not be deceived by various drugs being pushed around as cures, all they do is reduce/eliminate the symptoms.
But here are a few things you can do to feel better:
- Drink as much warm water as you can.
- If you are under a lot of physical/emotional stress, try to get some rest.
- Stuffy nose:
- Get a bowl of very hot water,
- Place your head over the bowl
- Cover your head and bowl with a towel
- Inhale the steam slowly.
*Be careful so you do not suffer a heat burn to your nose.
- If the above doesn’t work, you could try using nasal decongestants to relieve the blocked nose.
- Gargling salt water.
- Take Vitamin C and drink a lot of water with it!
- Headaches, body pain & fever: You could use over-the-counter medications like Paracetamol pending the time you see a Doctor
- Licking menthol sweets could also help.
When should you see a Doctor?
- Having symptoms that persist for more than 3 weeks.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Coughing up mucus with blood stains
- Symptoms get worse.
- Chest pains
- Persistent fever
Having a persistent running nose or don't know if you have allergies? Log into our consulting room and talk to a Doctor.
Watch out for prevention and more management options of common cold.
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Image Credit: Internet.
- Eccles R (November 2005). "Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza". Lancet Infect Dis 5 (11): 718–25. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(05)70270-X. PMID16253889.
- Arroll B (March 2011). "Common cold". Clinical evidence 2011 (3): 1510. PMC3275147. PMID21406124.
- Ebell, M. H.; Lundgren, J.; Youngpairoj, S. (Jan–Feb 2013). "How long does a cough last? Comparing patients' expectations with data from a systematic review of the literature.". Annals of Family Medicine 11 (1): 5–13. doi:10.1370/afm.1430. PMC3596033. PMID23319500.