The common cold is a contagious viral upper respiratory tract infection. It affects sinuses, nasal passages, pharynx and larynx. It can be caused by many different types of viruses and the body can never build up resistance to all of them.
Antibiotics do not cure or shorten the illness which can last from three days to a week. Symptoms include headache, body aches, sore throat, low temperature, sinus infection, coughing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and watery eyes.
A cold can be spread through direct contact – if you sneeze or cough, tiny droplets of fluid containing the cold virus are launched into the air and can be breathed in by others. It can also be spread through indirect contact – if you sneeze onto a door handle and someone else touches the handle a few minutes later, they may catch the cold virus if they then touch their mouth or nose
You only really need to see your doctor if:
- your symptoms persist for more than three weeks
- you have a high temperature (fever) of 39°C (102.2°F) or above
- you cough up blood-stained phlegm (thick mucus)
- you feel chest pain
- you have breathing difficulties
- you experience severe swelling of your lymph nodes (glands) in your neck and/or armpits
Garlic – Colds: Garlic is one of the more popular cures for colds whether it is chicken soup with lots of garlic, a drink made with raw crushed garlic or just eating raw garlic. The cold-fighting compound in garlic is thought to be allicin which has demonstrated antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Allicin is what gives garlic its distinctive hot flavor. To maximize the amount of allicin, fresh garlic should be chopped or crushed and it should be eaten raw.