What is a Head Cold

Head cold, which is also known as acute coryz or acute viral rhinophraryngitis is actually a viral disease that occurs in your upper respiratory system and settles in mucus membranes of your nose. Many people call it common cold, as it is a common problem, especially during the winters. Even though this disease is harmless, yet it leads to discomfort to the one who suffers from common cold. On an average, adults contract this infection two to four times, and a child contracts about six to twelve times in a year. In most of the cases, this is not a very big problem.

Signs and symptoms of head cold

Someone, who is suffering from head cold experience symptoms such as,

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Cough

These symptoms are also accompanied by problems such as pink eyes, mild fever, watery eyes, loss of appetite, shivering, fatigue, muscle aches, etc. Due to symptoms like fever, many people take head cold to be influenza, but in such case, influenza symptoms are more severe. Many people suffering from head cold also complains of sensation of chilliness, which are mostly related to fever, but are not always caused by fever.

Causes of head cold

Viruses are the main reason behind the contraction of head cold. These include:

  • Rhinovirus
  • Coronavirus
  • Enterovirus
  • Metapneumovirus
  • Influenza
  • Human parainfluenza viruses

Out of these viruses, rhinovirus is one of the most common viruses that lead to head cold and coronovirus are normally implicated in colds suffered by adults.  There are so many different kinds of viruses as well as their different tendencies of consistent mutation that it becomes very difficult to gain full immunity to head cold.

Treatment options for head cold

If head cold persists for a long time, then doctors prescribe pain management and decongestants medication. Treatments, which help in alleviating symptoms include simple antipyretics and analgesics. Some studies have proved cough medicine to be more effective as compared to simple analgesics, but it is not recommended for children. Sprays or saline rinses are also prescribed for getting rid of mucus as well as to increase comfort. However, patients should remember that protracted use of sprays could result into inflammation of mucus membranes. In few of the patients, the problem of head cold become very serious and turns into sinus infection. For such infection, medical treatment is very important.

Risk factors associated with head cold

Transfer of virus due to touching nose, eyes, and contaminated fingers is one of the main risk factors of head cold. These are droplet-borne infections, so it can spread through breathing the particles emitted by suffering patient as well. If anyone has a smoking history, then this can extend head cold duration. Low humidity also increases the rate of viral transmission of this infection.

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