Common cold is a frequently occurring problem affecting the nose, throat, caused by viruses or allergy. On an average one attack of common cold may last from 3 to 10 days.


Spread of infection:

·           Virus exists in infected person’s nasal discharge or sputum.

·           Handkerchief, pencils, telephone receiver, hand shaking etc., may also spread the virus from the infected person to others.

·           Virus enters body through nose either directly or by rubbing eyes.


Factors which predispose and cause allergy:

·           Exposure to cold weather, Sudden change of temperature

·           Eating cold food/ cold drinks

·           Pollens, perfumes, animal dander etc

Contact with infected person may also cause an attack of cold.


Sign & symptoms:

Running nose, Sneezing, Tickling sensation in nose, Stuffed nose, Soreness in throat, Chills, Bodyache, Mild fever may be present.



Coughing is the body’s method of expelling harmful material (a bit of food swallowed the wrong way, dust, excess mucus) from the respiratory tract.

Coughing can be mild or severe, dry or productive. The later brings up mucus or phlegm. A tickling cough without throat soreness may be due to nervousness or cigarette smoking, may be an indication of allergy, or may simply be the result of a lack of moisture.

A cough can be symptomatic of a wide range of diseases that include chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, hay fever, asthma, chronic lung abscess, lung cancer, or it may be merely a symptom of the common cold. Smokers may develop a chronic cough.



For cold:

·           Oral decongestants, nasal spray, nose drops- may provide temporary relief; many times nasal drops produce rebound congestion.

·           Aspirin or acetaminophen (Neurospas, Normospas) may relive aches and bring fever down. Acetaminophen is preferred to treat children.

(Do not give aspirin or medications that contain aspirin to anyone under age 21 who has the flu, as aspirin increases the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening neurological illness.)

(Side effects of acetaminophen: It enhances anti-coagulant activity. It rarely causes nausea, dyspepsia and allergic skin reaction. In very high doses it can cause hepatic or renal damage.)

·           An antibiotic will be prescribed only a secondary bacterial infection develops in the ears, sinuses, lungs elsewhere. In viral infection antibiotics don’t work. Repeated prescriptions of antibiotics only succeed in lowering the individual’s immune status over a period of time, thus predisposing the person to more frequent and severe attacks of cold and cough.

For cough:

·           Treatment depends on what prompts the coughing. A suppressant limits the coughing reflex. An expectorant makes a cough less irritating by drawing more liquid into the mouth and airways.

·           The following are the side effects of some cough preparations:

Codeine linctus- codeine may be addictive, thus encouraging abuse by young people and dependency in older people. It may cause toxic poisoning reactions in children and may also cause constipation.

Benadryl (Diphenydramine hydrochloride)- drowsiness and sedation. Contra-indicated- in children under one year, in heart disease, chronic bronchitis with emphyma or over active thyroid disease.



·           Avoid exposure to drafts or sitting in damp rooms. Keep rooms well ventilated and a comfortable temperature.

·           Inhaling steam will help to loosen the bronchial secretions that cause coughs.

·           Gargle salt and hot water or gargling or drinking warm water boiled with tulsi leaves for a sore throat/ cough.

·           A drop or two of salt water can act as nasal drops without any rebound effect. ( 1tsp of salt + 8 ounces of water)

·           Do not blow your nose too strongly as it may send the bacteria into your ears and contribute to ear infection. The right way to blow your nose is gently, without holding your nostrils shut.

·           Ajwain has a remarkable power to open up clogged and congested nasal passages. Roast a tablespoon of ajwain and tie it in a cloth and use for inhaling.

·           Stop smoking.

·           Performing yoga regularly can help relieve chest, stimulate healing and relax.

·           Eucalyptus oil is a soothing external application for head colds.

·           Garlic and onion have anti-viral effects. Onion and garlic soup is very effective. 2-3 garlic cloves daily in the morning removes cough & cold.

·           Ginger juice with honey is very useful in cough and cold.

·           Lady’s fingers are highly valuable in treating irritation of the throat and persistent dry cough. This vegetable is rich in mucilage and acts as a drug to allay irritation, swelling and pain. Cut pieces of 100 gm of lady’s fingers boiled in ½ lit. water to make decoction.

·           The juice of holy basil leaves (tulsi) + ginger juice + lemon juice + turmeric powder + honey can be given to cut down the course of illness.

·           A good home made cough syrup for irritating cough is 3 tsp honey + 2 tsp lime juice + 1 tsp brandy = mixed and 2 tsp given thrice a day. The mixture is to be prepared fresh daily.

·           Consume adequate fluids at least 6-8 glasses a day- the body needs extra water to help flush itself of the cellular ‘waste’ created by its antiviral efforts. Hot beverages, broth and soups help to relieve sinus and chest congestion.

·           Drinks liquid like:

·           Soups: chicken, vegetables made with onion, garlic, ginger etc.

·           Plain water

·           Fruit juices: lemon, orange, pineapple, black current etc.

·           Vegetable juices : carrot, beet, tomato, green pepper, plus onion and garlic juice in small doses added to vegetable juices.

·           Avoid milk products and sugar, which may increase mucus production.

·           Turmeric with its antiseptic properties is a household medicine for curing chronic cough.






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