How Is the Common Cold Transmitted?

How is the common cold transmitted inside the nose?

The common cold is initially a viral infection of the lining of the nose. Cilia, small hairs, inside of the nose transmit the virus up and back into the region of the adenoids, sometimes causing cough and sore throat. The common cold is one of the major reasons for doctor visits every year, but doctors typically recommend an over the counter remedy for common cold symptom relief. Symptoms typically last for about a week. Some people recover more quickly. Others take longer to recover. Some preventatives, such as vitamin C supplements, are also recommended as a remedy for common cold symptoms, since some studies have shown that they may reduce the duration of symptoms in some people.

How is the common cold transmitted from one person to another?

Sneezing is the body’s attempt to rid itself of the virus. When a person who has a cold sneezes, the discharge is full of live viruses and these viruses can live for as long as three hours on surfaces and skin. Since the viruses are microscopic and become airborne after a person who has a cold sneezes and to a lesser extent when they cough, you can inhale the viruses without realizing it. And, if you touch the skin of a person who has a cold or another surface that they have touched, then the viruses can be transmitted to your own nose, if you touch your face. Hand washing kills the viruses, thus it is important to wash your hands often, particularly if you are around someone who is sick or if you work with the public.

How is the common cold transmitted at home?

Some people believe that a heat pump or other forms of dry forced air heat increase the spread of common cold viruses, but it is more likely that the viruses are carried into the home by family members who have been in contact with someone who had a cold. Once the virus is in the house, it can spread easily among family members. Hand washing and disinfectants may reduce the spread, but it is hard to avoid someone you live with. It has been said that avoiding a remedy for common cold will decrease the duration of symptoms, allowing the body to rid itself naturally of the virus. But, there is no evidence supporting this idea. Allowing sneezing and runny nose to continue increases the likelihood that someone else will “catch the cold”.

How is the common cold transmitted in schools?

It is believed that the large number of children in the classroom and the close contact among them increases the frequency of common colds. Some focus has been placed on educating children about the importance of hand washing and some elementary schools request that parents provide tissue and waterless hand cleansers. These hand cleansers may not kill the viruses, but the action of hand washing rubs them off. Parents should use caution when choosing a remedy for common cold symptoms for their children. Products containing aspirin have been linked to episodes of Reye’s syndrome in children recovering from a viral infection. A multi-symptom remedy for common cold may contain aspirin. Also, check the ingredients for alcohol and antihistamines which can cause drowsiness and allergic reactions.

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