Common Cold: Treatment, Symptoms and all you need to know about Migraines by @DrOlufunmilayo

Common Cold: Treatment, Symptoms and all you need to know about Migraines/Common Cold by @DrOlufunmilayo.


This is a little helpful information on “common cold”, what we sometimes call catarrh or flu.

Common Cold is so common that everyone in his/her lifetime must have at least one episode of this nasty condition. We have all had it before.

Most people refer to common cold as catarrh, flu, sneezing, watery nose, migrane (headache) etc, as they try to describe it. But medically it’s a bit more than that.


What is Common Cold?

The common cold is a self-limiting, contagious, viral condition which is technically referred to as Upper Respiratory Tract Infection.



What causes Common Cold?

More than 200 viruses are known to cause the common cold but the Rhinovirus is the most notorious, causing up to 40% of all cases. Other viruses are a coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenoviruses & parainfluenza.


Why do I seem to have a lot of Common Cold? Because so many viruses (about 200 types) cause common cold, the body never develops resistance to all of them & so, cold is a big issue. Due to the difficulty, the body has to develop strong resistance to all the over 200 viruses causing it, common cold becomes recurrent. And we all tend to have it a lot of times repeatedly.



Who Contracts Common Cold more?

Generally, children have lower immunity than adults and are more susceptible to having many episodes of common cold every year. Some kids have between 6-12 episodes of common cold per year, compared to the average adult who may have only 4-6.



How serious is the global problem of Common Cold?

You may like to know that according to the Centre for Disease Control, 22 million school days are lost every year by American children. As we don’t have much data in Nigeria, it’s hard to say what it is for us. Due to no verifiable data in Nigeria, it makes it difficult to say with certainty how much school/work days, common cold costs a child/adult. However, we all know Common cold can be severe enough for someone to miss work/school.



How common is the Common Cold?

The common cold is the most frequently occurring illness in the whole world. And it’s one of the commonest reasons for hospital visits. Some people have a nasty experience with it each time that makes them visit the doctor.





How is the Common Cold spread between people?

The common cold is very contagious. And can be spread either by direct contact with someone who has it or by inhaling infected air from someone when they sneeze around you. A healthy person can get common cold by touching someone who has it, or by inhaling air that someone with cold has sneezed/coughed into. Viruses that cause Catarrh can be contacted by using objects like books, phones, pen, spoon etc, that an infected person also uses.

So, in simple terms, if your boyfriend/husband has a cold, and you go ahead to kiss him; that ‘love’ is one of the surest ways to catch a cold. The saying “there’s love in sharing” is true in Catarrh if two people do almost everything together and one person has it.



Does Common Cold kill?

No. Except there are other medical problems involved. It’s generally a simple viral illness that goes on its own within 7-10 days. It’s not normally a life-threatening illness. And it doesn’t kill. At all.




What are the risks of developing common cold?

This includes factors such as age (it’s worse in children), overcrowding, the weather (rainy season, Harmattan, winter), Migraine, weakened immune system like HIV & Diabetes history of allergies, and stress- emotional or otherwise.




What are the Symptoms of Common Cold?

Symptoms of Common Cold are sneezing, Headache, cough, blocked/stuffy nose, itching/sore throat, feeling of mucus at the back of the throat, reduced sense of smell and taste, watery eyes and a general feeling of not being well. Common Cold is commoner in rainy season & winter months but it is NOT the weather that causes the illness. It is caused by a virus. Cold weather makes people stay indoors more and probably spread the virus more. So weather-for-two may just be weather to catch a cold.



How is a diagnosis of Common Cold made?

Common Cold is diagnosed based on the symptoms you tell the doctor. No qualified doctor will be doing any elaborate tests to diagnose a cold. It is unnecessary.




How is Common Cold treated?

Common Cold has no permanent cure, and don’t be alarmed, it goes on it’s own; regardless of whether you use any medications. Doctors only advise relief drugs. Common Cold is not a life-threatening illness. Don’t be scared if u have it. It’s no big deal.

Remember that Common cold is a viral illness, so using antibiotics is a thorough waste of time. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Common Cold usually lasts between 7-10days, after which it goes on its own, whether you use drugs or not. That’s why it’s self-limiting.



However, once you are having cold/catarrh symptoms last longer than a week, or going into two weeks and not getting better, see a doctor. Common cold can get superimposed with a bacteria infection. And you will need tests and antibiotics at that point.




What can you do if you have a cold?

Lots of rest helps to supress Common Cold. Try to get 12hrs sleep if you can. Take lots of water. Stay in a warm environment. Wear a sweater. Stay under a duvet. Take hot tea. Stay off bae & small children though. Or you would pass them the cold too.

Take some paracetamol if the headache is much. Take some vitamin C as well. Or simply take fruits, they are rich in vitamin c. Take hot peppery soup. Take some antihistamine like Piriton or Loratadine- it helps with an allergic running nose.


Avoid places with air conditioning and car heating systems if you can because they tend to have too dry atmospheres. Try to place plants or bowls of water in a room as this may help to keep the air humid. Avoid known triggers like smoke, dust or fumes of hot oil.



Thanks for your time on this short piece on Common Cold. I hope it was helpful to you or someone else around you. Keep the tips handy and saved somewhere, it may just save you a trip to the hospital. Thanks. Cheers.


For questions you can reach Dr Olufunmilayo on;

Twitter @DrOlufunmilayo


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