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Common cold or rhinitis

A common cold or rhinitis is a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract. A common cold is harmless yet it can cause difficulties for daily activities.

What is common cold or rhinitis?

A common cold, also known as non-allergic rhinitis, is a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract like the nose and throat. A common cold is harmless, but it can make the patient feel uncomfortable and cause some difficulties for daily activities.

Symptoms

Common cold symptoms include sneezing, blocked nose, runny nose, cough (dry or with mucus), mild sore throat, low-grade fever, slight headache and body aches. These symptoms of a common cold usually last for a week.

A common cold does not cause itchy eyes, nose, mouth, throat or skin. The itching is an allergic symptom of allergic rhinitis or hay fever rather than non-allergic rhinitis or a common cold.

Causes and risk factors

Common cold is caused by a number of viruses, of which the most common is rhinoviruses. These rhinoviruses spread in the air and enter the body through the eye, nose or mouth.

Risk factors for developing nonallergic rhinitis are weakened immune systems, close physical contact with people who have a common cold, smoking, and cold weather.

Treatment

Treatment of common cold or rhinitis is directed at easing the symptoms. The possible common cold treatment includes the following medication methods:

  • Pain relievers: To treat mild fever, headache and sore throat, pain relievers can be used in accordance with the instructions. Such common cold symptoms in a child should be relieved using pain relievers that are designed for infants and children.
  • Cough syrups: Cough syrups can be used to treat sore throat and reduce excess mucus in the throat. However, cough syrups are not recommended to be given to children younger than 4 years of age, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Nasal sprays and nebulizers: Adults with a common cold can use a decongestant nasal spray or a nebulizer that delivers medication to the upper respiratory tract to treat a blocked nose. Children younger than 6 years of age should not use a nasal spray with a decongestant. Instead, children with a common cold can use a nasal spray with saline (salt water) or a nebulizer to decongest the nose.

References:

  • Fashner, J., Ericson, K., & Werner, S. (2012). Treatment of the common cold in children and ddults. Retrieved from American Academy of Family Physicians: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2012/0715/p153.html
  • Havard Medical School. (2014, January). Havard Health Publications. Retrieved from Common cold (viral rhinitis): http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/common-cold-viral-rhinitis
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2016, April 9). Symptoms and causes. Retrieved from Mayo clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/dxc-20199808
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2016, April 9). Treatment. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20199829
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2005). Colds in children. Retrieved from U.S. National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722603/
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2014, April 23). Common colds: overview. Retrieved from PubMed Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072727/
  • Smith, C., & Goldman, R. D. (2012). Nebulizers versus pressurized metered-dose inhalers in preschool children with wheezing. Retrieved from U.S. National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3352788/