The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by many different viruses and is transmitted by infected airborne droplets or direct contact with an infected person. Everyone knows the symptoms of common cold i.e. sneezing, sore throat, a stuffy nose, coughing. It is the most common illness by which every year, adults get about 2-3 colds, and children get even more.
The common cold is a self-limited disease that can generally be managed at home. The common cold has no cure, and there is no available vaccine. The only treatment is the prevention of common cold by increasing the immunity of the body so that the defense system can fight any kind of viruses.
Immunity and Common Cold
Immunity is the capability of multicellular organisms to resist harmful microorganisms from entering in the body. The immune system needs to be able to tell self from non-self. The immune system works by detecting proteins that are found on the surface of all cells, as the Human Body’s immune system gets exposed to foods, air, water, dust, pollens, and microbes.
By constantly responding to our external environment, the immune system learns to ignore its own or self-proteins. Skin is the first line of defence against external pathogens. And in common cold skin of nose gets infected and colds are highly contagious. If you drip a small amount of cold virus into someone’s nose, there is a 95% chance they will get infected. Cold viruses thrive at a temperature of 91-95° F, but at the typical core body temperature of 98.2-98.6° F, their ability to infect cells falls by 90%.
This is why cold viruses have a predilection for the human nose and do not circulate around the body. In addition, they can survive for several hours on the skin or dry surfaces. Colds are usually transmitted because you touch someone (shake hands) or something (playing cards, doorknobs), and then touch your eye or nose.
There are more than 100 different strains of viruses that cause colds. People probably have a lifetime or near lifetime immunity from a particular cold virus, especially if it is a rhinovirus. But other families of viruses, such as coronaviruses can reinfect you.
Treatment of Common Cold
Besides drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest, you may decide to take medicines.
- Nasal decongestants – unclog a stuffy nose
- Cough suppressants – quiet a cough
- Expectorants – loosen mucus so you can cough it up
- Antihistamines – stop runny noses and sneezing
- Pain relievers – ease fever, headaches, and minor aches and pains
Increasing Immunity to Avoid Common Cold and Cough
Everyone’s immune system is different but, as a general rule, it becomes stronger during adulthood as, by this time, we have been exposed to more pathogens and developed more immunity. Following herbs can be taken to increase the immunity:
- Amla: Amla is the richest source of Vitamin C. It has special properties of rejuvenation and revitalizing the entire body’s resistance power.
- Ginger: Ginger helps fight infections and boost immunity levels. It gives relief in respiratory disorders.
- Tulsi: Tulsi is considered to be anti-asthmatic and anti-infective properties.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera contains bradykinesia which stimulates the immune system and kills infections.