The common cold is called the common cold because, you guessed it, it is common. It's a contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract, caused by over 100 types of viruses. This infection affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. Therefore, its symptoms are nasal congestion, sore throat, and coughing. These symptoms are typical also of respiratory infections caused by bacteria and of allergic conditions like hay fever and asthma. This makes the common cold hard to diagnose.
The virus is usually temporary, subsiding within seven days or so. But other viruses, like bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus or middle-ear infections may occur because of your cold and they may take longer to cure.
The common cold was thought to come from prolonged exposure to cold weather. But actually, colds occur more often during the winter because people tend to crowd together indoors during this time of year, making it easier to transmit a virus from one person to the other.
A 100% effective solution to the cold has not been discovered yet. Though in the early 1950's, many antihistamine drugs claimed to work to prevent colds. Most physicians don't believe that a drug will totally eliminate the virus-caused cold. Bed rest is recommended to avoid making matters worse, and there are lots and lots of products on the market believed to help you be less congested and to help ease your symptons.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99. "Colds." 1993-1998 (November, 2003).
Bernstein, Joanne E. and Paul Cohen. Dizzy Doctor Riddles. Niles, Illinois: Albert Whitman & Company. 1989.
Images of sick person in bed from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?cag=1> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (October-February, 2003-2004).
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