We all know the feeling - the throat starts to get itchy, the nose begins to drip and the cough echoes through your home. ‘Tis the season of the common cold.
The common cold, also known as viral rhinitis, is a viral infection affecting adults twice per year on average, and children contracting the virus up to five to seven times per year due to their immature immune system and lack of resistance. Infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk from infection.
What is a common cold?
Viral Rhinitis is an upper respiratory infection caused by multiple families of viruses. Within these ‘families’ there are more than 200 viruses that cause the common cold. The most prevalent of these is called Rhinovirus. It’s estimated that this virus family causes up to 40% of cases.
How does the common cold develop?
There are two ways in which the rhinovirus spreads. The main point of transmission is via aerosols from respiratory droplets, mostly from when we cough or sneeze. Contaminated surfaces can also spread the virus, with the rhinovirus being able to survive for up to 24 hours outside of the body and up to an hour on hands.
It doesn’t take long for your immune system to react to the virus once it enters your body. Symptoms usually peak on average from the second to the fourth days and last around a week. While we have symptoms of the common cold, we remain infectious, so it’s important to help prevent spreading the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of the common cold can vary from person to person, however, the most common symptoms are:
- A sore throat
- Sinus congestion
- Runny or blocked nose
- A cough and/or sneezing
- A headache (rare)
- Slight body aches, chills and fever
- Fatigue and weakness
What causes the symptoms?
The rhinovirus enters the body through our eyes, mouth or most commonly the nose - often when we ingest virus particles that are floating in the air (aerosol) or we touch a contaminated surface and touch our face.
Symptoms usually begin after 24 hours and reach peak between day two and four. The actual symptoms come from the body’s own immune system response. Swelling is the most common defence which is what causes a sore throat, and leads to increased mucus production in a bid to get rid of the virus. This can also cause a runny or blocked nose.
The feeling of fatigue is the body working hard to fight the virus off, and while fevers are not always common when it comes to a cold it could mean that your body is heating up the virus’s environment to kill it off.
How to prevent and stop the spread?
As the common cold is spread through direct contact with the virus through the mouth and nose it is important to clean your hands often - especially if you’re feeling unwell. Also avoid rubbing your nose and eyes, and avoid exposure to people who may have a cold.
If you have a cold, it’s best to cover your mouth when you sneeze or a cough, or a cough and sneeze into your elbow which effectively controls the spread. Remember to wash your hands regularly or use a hand sanitiser.
Exercising regularly and having a balanced diet will also assist in strengthening your immune system.
Drink plenty of fluids, rest up and treat the symptoms as needed.
You can also use a natural product such as mundicare® Cold Defence Nasal Spray which is clinically proven to shorten the duration of colds by up to two days when used at the first signs of symptoms¹¯³, as well as helping to reduce the severity of common cold symptoms4-5.
It’s powered by Carragelose™, a natural ingredient sourced from red seaweed. Carragelose™ forms a barrier in the nasal passage that traps the cold virus, reducing its spread and multiplication and assisting your body’s natural defences. It is also preservative and steroid free and can be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
And unlike some other cold medications which are not suitable for children under the age of 6 years, mundicare Cold Defence Kids can be used in children aged 1 year and up.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.
Ref: 1. Ludwig M et al. Respir. Res 2013; 14:124. 2. Koenighofer M et al. Multidiscip. Respir. Med. 2014; 9:57. 3. Fazekas T et al. BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 2012; 12:147. 4. Eccles R et al. Respir. Res 2010; 11:108. 5. Eccles R et al. Respir. Res 2015; 16:121.
® MUNDICARE is a registered trademark. ™ CARRAGELOSE is a trademark of Marinomed Biotech AG used under license by Mundipharma Laboratories GmbH. RM-BET-1773-V1-0417. AU-4656 6/16.