If you have a tickly throat and a runny nose, you may be coming down with a cold. No need to panic. Two to four infections a year is quite normal for adults. In children however, it is normal for them to have a cold, rhinitis, hoarseness or blocked nose up to eight times a year. Viruses hit peak season in autumn and winter in particular, when there is the greatest risk of infection. Dry air from central heating, overcrowded public transport, sick children and colleagues – hardly anyone is immune to a cold. Even in summer you are not safe if there are viruses doing the rounds. The term “summer flu” or “flu infection” is often used to refer to a harmless common cold. A “real” flu (influenza) is no laughing matter and you should always see a doctor if you suffer from it.
As the symptoms are similar, colds and flu are often confused. Unlike a flu, which usually comes on suddenly and severely, sometimes with a high tempera-ture, a cold tends to come on gradually. A “real” flu is, however, just as infec-tious as a cold. For some people a flu can pose a risk as it weakens the immune system considerably, and can lead to infections of the lungs, or bronchitis. This poses a particular threat to the elderly, pregnant women or individuals with chronic diseases. If there are no complications, most of those affected stop running a temperature after a few days to a week. A cough, rhinitis (runny nose) and feeling weak may persist for longer.
A cold is brought on by various viruses, of which there are now some 200 different types. As the viruses are transmitted by droplets, a second infection can follow on the heels of the first. Antibiotics do not help, however, and are only prescribed if there is an additional bacterial infection. This makes it difficult to estimate the time it will take for a cold to clear. Sometimes the itchy throat, runny nose and hoarseness are gone in a couple of days, and sometimes they can persist for longer.
Colds are highly infectious. Not just from the time you actually have a cold and runny nose, but probably before there are any symptoms. That is why it is extremely important to wash your hands properly. Whenever possible, if you need to sneeze, because of the droplet infection, do so into your elbow or use a tissue. Sneezing without covering your mouth, or covering your mouth with your hand, means that people near you are at risk of infection. Assume that a cold is infectious for at least a week. If there is no improvement after seven days or if you develop a high temperature, it is advisable to seek medical advice from your doctor.
Inhalation therapy with PARI devices can help and ease symptoms. Nebulisation with our saline inhalation solutions is a perfectly natural way to clear and moisten your airways. Ideally, clear dirt, germs and pollens out of your nose on a daily basis with PARI MONTESOL Nasal Rinse and PARI MONTESOL Nasal Douche.
As experts in inhalation therapy, our wide portfolio of products includes devices which are suitable for preventing colds e.g. our nebuliser devices used with isotonic saline solutions, or the PARI MONTESOL Nasal Rinse.
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