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Common Cold – Overview

July 6, 2021


What we call a common cold is usually a virus that affects our upper respiratory tract. So that basically means it will go into your nose, your nasal pharynx, or going back from the nose down into the throat, your throat, your windpipe, and your lungs. Most of the time, the symptoms are pretty mild, but can include things like a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, ear pain, cough, fever, chills, and some body kind of malaise, which basically means you just feel sick. The nice thing is though it usually goes away on its own and you don’t have to see a doctor for it. Why do we always get sick though? I mean, we’ve all had a cold and we’ve had several colds. Well, the reason is there’s more than 200 different types of viruses that cause the common cold. And once you get sick with one, you can get sick again with the same one. Viruses constantly change, and the most common one is called rhinovirus and it affects people mostly in the fall and winter. But there’s other types like enterovirus that mostly gets people sick in the summer. So it’s frustrating because you can get a cold any time of the year. It’s also super common and it’s estimated that over 500 million cases of the cold affect people in the United States alone in just one year. Not only that, preschool aged kids can get up to five colds in 12 months. Adults usually have about two to three, but still, that’s a lot. So you want to consider risk factors. And the biggest ones are if you have an underlying medical condition, you smoke, or if you have a weakened immune system. Don’t forget the most important thing. These are usually self-limited, meaning you will get better on your own, and don’t have to worry about long-term complications.

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