Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Common cold

(Upper respiratory infection)

A contagious viral infection that principally involves the upper-respiratory passages, the nose, throat, sinuses, ears, eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes. Since they are by a virus common colds are not responsive to antibiotics. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between a cold and the flu based on symptoms alone. Special tests must be done within the first few days of illness to tell if the patietns have the flu. Colds are usually milder than the flu with lower fevers and milder body aches. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. For more information on the flu and how it differs from a cold: http: www.flu.gov.

Symptoms tend to start with a runny nose and sore throat followed by a cough. The cough produces a white clear sputum. The mucous from the runny nose (rhinnorrhea) is clear. Fever is present although not as high as with other viral illnesses such as the flu. Muscle aches (myalgias) and headache are common. The headache tends to be mild to moderate in severity.

Treatment includes: medications for fever (acetaminophen, ibuprofen), antihistamines for excessive runny nose, and oral fluids to reverse dehydration. There is currently no vaccination for the common cold.
A Chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia is sometimes performed.