It happens to me quite often. In fact there was a time when I used to suffer every week. Now also, I experience the ills of this evil quite often, at least once in three to four months. Those who have suffered from this know that it is not as common to cure and mange as it sounds like. Yes, I am talking about common cold.
Cold is characterized by watery eyes, runny nose, headache, fever, body pain and sometimes accompanied by cough. It could be on account of a viral infection like influenza virus but there could be many other causes as well like allergies, deformation within the nose and others. The typical characteristic of common cold is that whatever be the reason behind the condition, the symptoms are very much alike. To me and many others, it all starts with a series of sneezes. This is the reflex of the body to react to the irritants which could be allergens or other particles foreign to the body. Allergens are allergy causing substances which could be in the form of pollen and are more prominent in certain seasons. However there could be other irritants inform of dust, strong perfume or other non allergic substances to which otherwise the body is friendly to. I mean that a person may use perfume every day, but if the same perfume is sprayed directly near his nose to introduce some droplets within the nasal tract, it could irritate him. Here, he is not allergic to perfume but it still irritated him. In case of allergies, as soon as the allergen enters the nasal tract, antibodies are produced which react with the allergens.
Whether the allergen or the irritant enters the respiratory tract, the body reacts in form of sneezing reflex and histamine is liberated by the body to cause inflammation where the body prepares itself to face the music of the irritant or allergen. This auto defense mechanism involves a watery discharge through the nose, swelling in the nasal lining and even nasal blockage. It is through the watery discharge of the nose that the irritant is driven out of the nasal tract. However due to the swelling in the nasal lining there is a discomfort in this region giving rise to itchy nose. Moreover due to the histamine liberated, the mucus formed by the nasal tract is unable to pass down the sinus cavities. Thereby the regular process where we experience a clear nose on account of the mucus being carried down the tract is inhibited. This results in blockage of the nose. Since the entire process is basically an inflammation where the entire body is reacting to the irritant, the eyes are also involved and become red and fever may also be experienced.
I personally experience very bad cold and am unable to even breath through the nose. The weakness doesn’t allow me to stand or sit whereas the blockage doesn’t allow me to lie down, because breathing is more difficult in lying position. This condition is mitigated in a days time, when the blockage reduces significantly. However, sever congestion in the throat takes its place and makes talking difficult and breathing is possible but accompanied by wheezing sounds. This cough could persist for 3-6 days and generally gradually diminishes. It is this situation which needs to be carefully managed because if left untreated, bacterial infections could develop complicating the entire situation.
Some areas of concern in a case of common cold are:
- Drink as much of water to help remove the mucus from the body.
- Keep the nasal membrane moist in case of sneezing and eatery nose.
- Intake of vapours in form of steam would help clarify the throat to some extent.
- Take adequate rest and avoid reading or watching television too.
- Give complete rest to the brain and eyes.
- Even if you lose appetite eat fruits and consume fresh juices at room temperature to avoid undue weakness.