Health

How long does a common cold last?

            Before COVID-19 emerged in the country, have you ever had those days when almost everyone around you suddenly became sick and started coughing with a runny nose? Then you realised it happened during the interchangeable rainy and sunny days? This could be the season for the common cold. Now because the common cold can be easily seen the same as influenza and COVID-19, some people would opt to take supplements such as the Blackmores to help boost their immunity to fight such disease.

            Common cold is a viral infection affecting the respiratory system. A person that catches a common cold might be feeling that the symptoms feel like forever but usually a common cold lasts about a week or two. There are many viruses that cause the common cold, most commonly the rhinoviruses. Other viruses that could be responsible for common cold are human parainfluenza viruses, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus and common human coronaviruses.

            How to know if you are possibly experiencing a common cold? Common symptoms include a runny nose, a sore throat, headaches, sneezing, cough, fever and muscle aches. Temporary loss of taste and smell might occur and result in loss of appetite. These symptoms can come on gradually or simultaneously. Common cold might be confused with flu as it exhibits almost the same symptoms. However, flu usually is worse than the common cold and symptoms of fever, body ache or fatigue are more severe.

       As mentioned before, a common cold lasts for a week or two before it clears up on its own. There is no specific treatment for common cold aside from supportive treatment to help ease the symptoms. Using over-the-counter cough and cold medicine should help you feel a bit better. Taking painkillers can help lower the feverish body and the muscle aches. Decongestant should help relieve the blocked or runny nose. There is no need for antibiotics as this disease is caused by viruses and antibiotics does not work against viruses.

       Typically, you do not need to see a doctor if you experience a common cold. Having a good rest, drinking plenty of fluids, practising healthy eating habits and using over-the-counter medicine should help treat the cold. However, you might want to meet a doctor if the symptoms persist more than 2 weeks, symptoms getting worse, severe or unusual, experiencing breathing difficulty or developing complications such as chest pain or coughing blood stained mucus. Those at risk for getting complications are young children below the age of 5, old people aged 65 and above, pregnant women and those with medical conditions causing the immune system to be compromised such as with diabetes, kidney problems or undergoing chemotherapy.

       Since the common cold is caused by a virus, it is easily spread to others. To help reduce risk of spreading and acquiring a cold, you should wash your hands frequently by using soap and water or using the alcohol-based hand sanitiser. You should also avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth with an unwashed hand because viruses can easily enter the body through this organ. Always remember to practise good sneezing and coughing etiquette by keeping a distance away from people before coughing or sneezing and using tissues or towels. Remember to throw away the used tissue in the bin properly. If you are beginning to have symptoms of a common cold, you should stay at home and avoid close contact with others such as shaking hands, hugging or kissing. Never share your belongings such as towels or cups with others if you or someone around has a cold.  Disinfect surfaces and objects with alcohol-based cleaner to help eliminate the virus from spreading.  Know about out hajj vaccination package