1. Cold Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of the common cold are a result of your body’s natural defence mechanisms. The first symptoms of a cold start a couple of days after infection.
Usually, the first is discomfort in the nose and throat. Later you may start sneezing, have a runny nose and feel mildly ill. Secretions from the nose are watery and clear and can become annoyingly plentiful during the first day or two. Later these secretions become thicker, opaque, yellow-green and less abundant.
Colds can also produce fevers in infants and children but such fevers in adults (or a high fever) generally indicate the infection is probably flu. A slight fever may develop when your symptoms are beginning. You may also develop a cough which may last well into the second week. Your other cold symptoms will usually disappear in 4 to 10 days.
Other symptoms which may be present are sore throat, headache, joint aches, irritability, frequent urination, diarrhoea, skin rash, swollen glands and fatigue.
2. Diagnosing a Cold
The common cold is a viral infection of the lining of the nose, sinuses, throat, and large airways.
Colds are easily diagnosed based on the typical symptoms. Bacterial infections, allergies, and other disorders can cause similar symptoms, and the same viruses that cause colds can cause symptoms similar to those of flu.
3. Who Gets A Cold?
Everybody. Because so many different viruses cause colds, and because the number of antibodies you produce against the cold virus decline over time, most of us continue to get colds throughout our lives.
4. Causes of a Cold – Your MD’s View
The common cold is caused by any one of two hundred viruses, the most common being rhinoviruses and respiratory syncytial viruses. These viruses can be airborne on droplets that have been sneezed or coughed by someone else, but they are mostly spread by direct contact with infected secretions carried on the fingers.
The cold viruses cause a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the bronchial passages, throat, Eustachian tubes and nose. The result is a mucous discharge from the nose, blocked or stuffed nasal passages, and occasionally headaches.
Most colds run their course in four to ten days, but infants and the elderly are susceptible to further complications (secondary infections) such as sinusitis, ear inflammations, bronchitis and pneumonia. These may be more serious than the original cold.
Because of the number of viruses involved, people do not develop immunity to colds as they do with other viral diseases.
The treatment prescribed by most physicians includes rest, fluids, antihistamines, decongestants, cough medicines as needed and even antibiotics. (Antibiotics are useless against colds as they have no effect on viral infections – that does not keep patients from asking and doctors from trying.)
Aspirin is generally not recommended because it actually increases viral shedding and makes the individual more contagious.
Vaccines, though very popular, are inconsistent in terms of prevention.
5. Causes of a Cold – The Green Healers View
The majority of us only experience the discomfort of a cold once or twice a year. This implies that a decrease in resistance or immune function is the major factor in catching a cold.
All forms of traditional medicine view the common cold as the body’s attempt at internal cleansing and detoxification. An accumulation of waste in the cells, organs and tissue fluids weaken the immune system and creates the conditions for the cold viruses to gain a foothold in the body and flourish. The common cold eliminates this accumulated waste. In short – a cold is an efficient, rapid form of internal cleansing.
Your cold symptoms will indicate which organs are detoxifying. When the large intestine is unable to fully eliminate, waste infiltrates the lymph system, causing swollen glands, sore throat and cough.
Diarrhoea is the body’s attempt to rapidly eliminate accumulated waste, a pathogen or some sort of toxin.
Frequent urination suggests an effort to cleanse the kidneys, bladder and blood.
Fever is the body’s effort to create a hostile condition for bacteria or a virus that may be in the blood, tissues, liver or spleen. Sweating cleanses the tissue fluids, lymph and blood, and takes the burden of the kidneys.
Suppression of cold symptoms, which is routinely accomplished by pharmaceutical drugs, drives these waste products deeper into the body, creating stagnation and forming the basis for more serious illness later on. The body must be allowed to detoxify itself.