I am sure everybody
is extremely familiar with the common cold especially in this city.
All must have experienced sneezing, the scratchy feeling in the
throat, runny nose atleast once in our life lifetime if not more.
It is also one of the most common complaints that most patients
come with. Most people dont even bother to treat it since the symptoms
are mild usually lasting for not more than a week. So why then
should we try to treat it some may ask? Because you never know
when a common cold may become secondarily infected with bacteria
or your immunity may be less resistant and make you vulnerable
to any other infection. Even a common cold has the potential to
turn dangerous and complicated. So if you feel that you are coming
down with one visit your Homoeopath.
WHAT IS THE COMMON COLD?
It is an infection
of the Upper Respiratory Tract - nose, nasal passages and the throat.
The common cold is said to be the most wide spread infection in
the world. This viral infection is most prevalent in children as
their immune system is still immature and they are constantly surrounded
by other children suffering from the same. Another age group more
prone to colds are women, especially aged between 20 - 30, could
be because of their close proximity to children at this age.
WHAT CAUSES THE COMMON COLD?
There are more than
200 different types of viruses known to cause the symptoms of a
cold. Rhinoviruses are the ones most often found to be the cause.
Rhin in Greek means nose and thats exactly where these viruses
are found. They multiply and survive best at a temperature of 33
degrees Celsius which happens to be the temperature inside the
nose. There are 110 different types of this kind itself. These
usually cause a mild illness and resolve in a few days but there
are other viruses which can cause a more severe infection. The
Respiratory Syncytial and Influenza Viruses are one of those that
you need to watch out for.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF THE
Sometimes a person may be a carrier
of the cold virus and not suffer any symptoms. This is a sub-clinical
state as the infection is not causing a disease. What happens in
most cases though is that the symptoms appear a day or two after
the patient has been affected with the cold virus. It starts with
just a scratchy feeling within the nose or throat, sneezing, and
eventually the nose and eyes starts to water.
There maybe a stuffy
feeling in the nose, difficulty in breathing, sore throat, cough
and headache. Sometimes the person may develop a mild fever and
weakness. Children can also have high fever. All these symptoms
will subside within a week but if they dont then see your physician.
Secondary bacterial infections are
one of the main complications of the common cold. It mainly involves
the ears, sinuses, or rarely the chest. Here there will be high
fever, swollen glands, pain in the ear with maybe a discharge,
pain and heaviness of the sinuses, a productive cough with foul
Call your Doctor immediately if
you or your child has any of the symptoms listed below-
- Fever higher than 104 F with
chills and sweating or if the fever is lasting more than 48 hours.
- If you observe any abnormal behavior
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
- If your child is crying continuously
- If the headache is severe
- Any difficulty in breathing
- If the child holds the ear and
cries or you have a terrible ear pain
HOW IS THE COMMON COLD PASSED
ON AND SPREAD?
Colds are very easy to pass on but
personal contact is required to become infected with the cold virus.
The virus has to find its way to the mucus membrane of the nose.
There are several ways by which that can happen.
inhaling the contaminated droplets
touching a surface which is contaminated
and then rubbing your eyes or nose with the same hand.
Being in contact with someone
who is already suffering from a cold.
These viruses are
very resistant and can survive up to a few hours outside the body.
So watch what you are touching and dont rub those eyes or touch
your nose before washing your hands. Also make sure that person
suffering from a cold sneezes or coughs into a tissue which is
DOES COLD WEATHER CAUSE COMMON
No, contrary to what we all believe
cold temperatures or weather is not the cause of the common cold.
However it does make you more susceptible to suffer from a cold.
This is because the humidity is low at this time of the year which
allows the viruses to survive longer. It also dries the lining
of the nasal passages making the person more prone to colds since
there is no protective mucus which is the first line of defense
against common colds. In the same manner sitting in an AC room
which removes the moisture from the air and dries up your nasal
passages can make you more prone to a cold. Also remember to clean
your AC filters regularly.
HOW CAN COLDS BE PREVENTED?
Here are a few tips
which will help you in preventing you and your family from getting
- WASH YOUR HANDS PROPERLY AND
- ALWAYS SNEEZE OR COUGH INTO A
TISSUE WHICH THEN SHOULD BE DISPOSED. IF NOT POSSIBLE THEN AT
LEAST LOOK THE OTHER WAY AND COVER YOUR MOUTH BEFORE SNEEZING,
WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DO THE SAME.
- DO NOT RUB YOUR EYES OR NOSE UNLESS
YOUR HANDS HAVE BEEN WASHED. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO AVOID GETTING
SOMEONE ELSES INFECTION.
- USE DISPOSABLE TISSUES FOR WIPING
AWAY THE SECRETIONS AND RUNNING NOSE.
- AVOID BITING YOUR NAILS, YOU
DONT KNOW WHAT THEY MIGHT CONTAIN.
Always try to eat
a healthy and balanced diet, get sufficient sleep and exercise.
All these things help to maintain our immune system which protects
us from infections. Watch out for STRESS, emotional, mental and
physical, it can lower your bodys resistance.
WHY IS HOMOEOPATHY THE BEST
OPTION FOR TREATING THE COMMON COLD?
The common cold
is a viral infection therefore antibiotics have no role to play
here. There are several things available over the counter like
nasal decongestants, cough suppressants, acetaminophen etc all
these come with their set of side-effects and they may cause dizziness,
drowsiness, insomnia, or upset stomach. In fact they do not even
aide the body in overcoming the cold. A few points that you can
do to help recover faster and get some relief are bed rest, keep
taking in fluids every hour, gargle with warm water if that makes
you feel better, if your nose feels dry and raw apply a little
Vaseline (petroleum jelly).
In Homoeopathy we
treat the patient as a whole with his own set of peculiar and characteristic
symptoms during the cold. Our remedies boosts the persons own immunity
and defense mechanisms to overpower the virus and bring back his
health. There are no adverse effects of our medicines while they
cure a person of his cold. The Constitutional remedy is one that
will protect the patient from developing a secondary infection
and repeated cold attacks. But during an acute attack there are
some wonderful drugs which will take care of the immediate symptoms
and give prompt relief. Here are a few invaluable cold remedies.
The aconite patient complaints of
bouts of sneezing with a sensitiveness to smell. They are always
affected during this cold and dry season. As soon as the weather
changes to cold and dry the Aconite patient comes down with a cold.
There is marked dryness of the nose and he feels like the nose
is blocked. The Aconite personality is a restless and fearful one.
Even though it might just be a cold affecting him he feels anxious
and is extremely worried about his health. These mental symptoms
accompany all his ailments without which you cannot prescribe this
This is one of the most prescribed
remedy for colds. The Allium cepa patient will have watery discharge
constantly dripping from his nose, they use a whole tissue box
within a few hours. The nose and surrounding area looks raw and
red and he complaints of burning and smarting pain. This is because
the discharge though watery is very acrid and it corrodes the skin.
He may even have watering of the eyes and looks like he has been
weeping but this discharge is bland. This is exactly opposite of
what is present in a EUPHRASIA patient. Here the
nasal discharge is bland and the eyes are red, puffy with acrid
watery discharge. The eyes burn and are sore. All this is worse
in open air whereas Allium cepa person feels better in open air
and worse when he enters a room.
An Arsenic patient will come and
complaint of great weakness and low feeling even though he is just
suffering from a cold. The discharge is watery, thin but acrid
which burns. There is constant sneezing which does not give any
relief. and the nose feels blocked and dry. Like in aconite even
here there is tremendous restlessness and worry about his health.
Even though he is suffering he cannot stand things being out of
place which bothers him. All the symptoms are better in open air
and warm weather.
The gelsemium constitution is extremely
sensitive to any changes of weather. Slightest change in weather
and they come down with sneezing, watering of the nose, feeling
of fullness in the nose, heaviness of the head and fever. The sneezing
is usually worse in the morning. There is always a certain amount
of drowsiness and dullness along with the symptoms. The gelsemiun
patient does not want to speak or be spoken to when unwell. They
get very nervous with their ailments and even when they have to
appear in public.