OVERVIEW

In our previous article, we discussed the causes , routes of infection , pathophysiogy , stages , risk factors and precipitating factors of common cold.

We will look mainly at clinical manifestations,complications, diagnosis,prevention and treatment in this article.

CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS

1. Runny nose.
2. Sore throat or itchy throat.
3. Sneezing.
4. Coughing.
5. Watery eyes.
6. Congested or blocked nose.
7. Low-grade fever and/or chills.
8. Mild headache.
9. Mild muscle pains.
10. Vomiting and diarrhea in young infants.

COMPLICATIONS

1. Bacterial infections on top of the ongoing viral infection.

• Ear infections (otitis).
• Strep throat infections.
• Sinus infections (acute sinusitis).
• Pneumonia.

2. Worsening of asthma in asthmatic patients infected with common cold.

DIAGNOSIS

1. Presenting signs and symptoms of the individual.
2. Accurate patient history.
3. Physical examinations.
4. Sputum culture or throat culture to check for other infections like strep throat.

PROGNOSIS

Though common cold is a very common disease, it has a remarkably good prognosis. Common cold infected individuals recover around a week or a maximum of 10 days. People with complications will require additional treatment procedures.

In immunocompromised individuals, common cold symptoms last longer than expected and complications are expectant. Common cold infection is also precipitated by smoking with a lengthened duration of symptoms.

Asthmatic exasperated by common cold can be effectively managed at a health care facility. Young infants who may die after common cold infections may be due to poorly managed complications like pneumonia induced by common cold.

TREATMENT

1. Take in a lot of fluids.
2. Enough bed rest.
3. Use of humidifier during dry seasons.
4. Eating hot soup help to relieve symptoms.
5. Saline nasal drops in children.
6. Draining of mucus in infants by a syringe to relieve congestion.
7. Pain relieving drugs.
8. Decongestants like; phenylephrine, ephedrine, and others.
9. Cough-suppressing drugs (cough syrups ).
10. Antihistamines to reduce sneezing and runny nose. Eg clemastine, loratadine, etc….

IS COMMON COLD FLU?

Common cold and flu are two different conditions which are mixed up and confused most often. A common cold is different from flu by; causative agents, the severity of signs and symptoms and management. This show some key differences to know if you infected with flu or common cold.

1. Causative agents: Common cold is caused by a lot of viruses but most commonly Rhinovirus while flu is mostly caused by influenza viruses (A, B, and C).

2. Disease mechanism: Rhinovirus causes localized and limited infections because they cannot stay active nor survive above 34 degree Celsius and hence stay in the nasal region. So common cold is a noted upper respiratory tract infection. On the contrary influenza viruses (types A, B, and C) can survive in 37 degree Celsius and can cause systemic viremia and infections. Hence, flu is both an upper and lower respiratory tract infection.

3. Clinical manifestation: Common cold is noted for mild signs and symptoms while flu normally comes with severe headaches, severe muscle pains, progressive cough, continuous fatigue, and intense general body weakness and even death.

4. Management: To treat common cold simple lifestyle remedies and symptomatic treatment is all that is required. Infections with flu normally require intense medical monitoring and use of systemic antiviral drugs like; oseltamivir, and remantadine.

SUMMARY 

Common cold infection is the most common disease in the world. About 26 million of common cold cases are recorded in the world annually. Dry weather and overcrowding are two main risk factors of common cold.

The frequency in common cold occurrence can be reduced by proper hand washing, humidification during dry weather and a balanced diet. Drinking enough fluid and hot soup will help relieve people infected with common cold disease.