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Today in Health & Wellness

Common Cold

Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult

Common Name

Cold/s (Eng); sipon (Fil.); kataro (Vis.); sip-on (Ilonggo)

Common cold is an inflammation of the nasal passages caused by any member of respiratory viruses. Cold may also involve the sinuses, ears, and bronchial tubes.

Of about 200 viral strains identified, the most commonly responsible viruses are the rhinoviruses and the corona viruses. Virus particles spread through the air or from person-to-person contact especially hand-shaking. Chilling and getting wet will not cause a cold. A cold is caused by viruses and not by the weather. It is more common when the humidity is low. Cold viruses survive better in cold weather which can cause the lining of the nasal passages to dry, making the cold viruses thrive easily.


  • A runny nose, watery eyes, and nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Weakened senses of taste and smell which leads to poor appetite
  • A sore throat accompanied by a cough
  • General fatigue
  • Postnasal drip
Risk Factors
  • Exposure to infected individuals or their cough droplets
  • Stress
  • Poor hygiene
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Decongestants may be used to provide temporary relief of nasal congestion, but use is restricted for 3-5 days especially for topical decongestants because rebound congestion may occur on prolonged use.

  • Patients taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors.
  • Patients with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, benign prostatic hypertrophy and narrow-angle glaucoma.


Other Drugs:

  • Antitussives are meant to be used to relieve dry, hacking coughs associated with colds and flu. They should not be used to treat coughs that bring up mucus or the chronic coughs associated with smoking, asthma, emphysema or other lung problems. These should not be given with MAO inhibitors.
  • Demulcents such as cough drops or hard menthol candy may soothe an irritated throat and bronchial passages.
  • Expectorants and Mucolytics are drugs that loosen and clear mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract. They may bring some relief from cough symptoms.
Treatment and Management
  • Avoid close contact with people who have a common cold, especially during the first few days when they are most likely to spread the infection.
  • Keep hands away from the eyes and nose.
  • Wash hands regularly, especially after having contact with an affected person.
  • Use disposable tissues instead of a handkerchief.
  • Cough into your upper arm or elbow, not into your hands.
  • Avoid emotional stress, fatigue, and poor nutritional state. They are associated with decrease resistance to viral infection.
  • Cold medicines include decongestants, painkillers, fever meds
  • Cold supplements include zinc and vitamin C
  • Non-drug approaches include lukewarm sponging and nasal irrigation; chicken soup is commonly given to sufferers.
Home Remedies
  • Essential oils containing menthol and eucalyptus have been traditionally used for the treatment of common cold. Menthol provides relief from nasal congestion by causing a cool sensation in the nose and also relieves the symptoms of a sore throat and cough by a local anesthetic action. The antimicrobial activity of essential oils such as menthol may also help to inhibit infection of the airway by pathogenic viruses and bacteria.
  • Lozenges containing Echinacea may help prevent infection by boosting the immune system and prevent the development of cold symptoms.
  • Zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of common cold symptoms by several days.
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