29 August 2016
At the weekend, it rained for extended period of hours in most parts of Nigeria. The rain lasted for well over 48 hours, limiting people’s outdoor activities.
Apart from places that experienced flooding from the rain, the usual culprit that accompanies such rain is cold.
Cold, commonly referred to as common cold is an infectious disease caused by a virus. And it mainly affects the upper respiratory tract.
Cold happens to be one of the most common viral infections in the world today. Both adults and children are susceptible to this viral infection that is highly contagious.
While the activity of the virus begins two to three hours after being contracted, the manifesting symptoms take two to seven days to emerge.
Prevailing symptoms include nasal blockage and secretion, runny nose, fever, head and body ache. There may be shivering and feeling of chilliness as well.
Absence of appetite and general sense of fatigue may also become symptoms. Sneezing, coughing, sore throat, scratchy irritation are also some of the symptoms associated with cold.
People with pre-existing health disorders like cancer, kidney ailment, diabetes and cardiac ailment should be particularly protected from contracting cold.
It is better to avoid self-medication. Using drugs such as aspirin or paracetamol to combat cold doesn’t work, because it’s a viral infection. It will amount to drug abuse.
Parents should ensure that their children stay indoor and avoid playing in the rain or getting exposed to it.
Children, especially the younger ones, should be adequately dressed for cold, covering their feet, chest and hands. For babies, the head and ears should be adequately covered.
The bedroom should be kept warm always. However, over-covering the body with woollen and similar materials should be avoided.
For adults who prefer to drink tea, green tea is recommended as a way of preventation.
Treatment for Cold and Fever
Antibiotics are largely not recommended by medical practitioners to treat common cold.
However, they are prescribed sometimes to avoid the risks of secondary infection; or when the physician feels that the concerned patient has also contracted a bacterial infection.
Sometimes analgesic medication in acetaminophen/paracetamol is prescribed to reduce the symptoms of aches and fever but should not be abused.
Particularly for children below six, use of antibiotics is strictly disallowed. For treating children affected with cold, it is better to consult paediatric physician before administering drugs or any other remedial device.
Usually people affected with the virus that causes common cold are advised to include lot of fluids as part of their self-care regimen. Rest is also advised.
As part of alternative therapy, capsules or supplements in Vitamin Care are prescribed so as to get rid of phlegm and irritating nasal congestion.
Author: Dotun Obatuyi
My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.