Men's Articles

Common Cold

Colds are caused by viruses that enter through nose and mouth and multiply quickly, causing many symptoms including runny nose, headache, sore throat, and stuffy nasal passages. There are over 120 different viruses that cause colds, but none of them alone will cause any long term harm.

Colds can weaken the body, especially in children and the elderly, which can lead to bacterial infections, most commonly in the ears, throat and lungs. Unlike colds, bacterial infections can be cured with antibiotics. If symptoms last longer than a week to 10 days, a fever is present, nasal discharge is cloudy, or the symptoms are more severe than normal, it may be the flu or allergies instead of a cold.

No medications can cure a cold, but they can reduce the severity of the symptoms and help the bodies natural defenses work more quickly. Decongestants and antihistamines help relieve congestion and runny noses. Analgesics, such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can be used to treat headaches and sore throat.

Vitamin C can be taken in moderate doses to replace the bodies supply. Antibiotics should only be taken when prescribed for a specific illness. Taking precautions to prevent contracting a cold in the first place is much more desirable but not always easy. Limit contact with others, particularly people who clearly have a cold. If contact is unavoidable, be sure to keep hands away from the nose and mouth, and wash hands promptly with soap and hot water.

Don't share drinking glass or eating utensils with someone who has a cold. And it always makes sense to eat right and get plenty of sleep to help resist illness. It is important to consult your physician or pharmacist before using any over-the-counter drugs or treatments. They will be able to advise you on proper usage and can warn you of possible side effects and contraindications.


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