An infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by one of more than 200 viruses can be termed as cold. The nose, sinuses, throat, larynx, windpipe and the bronchi, which are airways branching in the lungs, may be affected symptoms commonly include sneezing, coughing, congestion, a running nose, watery eyes, and feeling out – of – sorts. A low – grade fever, sore throat, chills, muscle aches and laryngitis may also develop.

The common cold can be caused by any of 200 viruses, usually a rhinovirus. Influenza is instigated by different viruses classified in groups as type A, B, or C. type A is responsible for over 90 percent of flu cases and for major epidemics. The less severe type B occurs in localized outbreaks; type C evidences even milder, cold – like symptoms.

These viruses can cause a variety of symptoms, from a running nose, sore throat and fever to an upset stomach, diarrhea and muscle aches.

Common cold is ‘caught’ by inhaling microscopic droplets of the exhaled virus (a sneeze can throw droplets 6 feet through the air at a speed of 100 miles per hour), or by touching a virus – contaminated object (hand, stair rail, telephone), or by touching the eyes, nose or mouth. These viruses are contagious shortly after initial exposure and for

Several days thereafter as the body develops antibodies with which to counteract them

Flu and cold symptoms are indications of the body’s efforts to eradicate the viruses. A running nose guards against further invasion. Fever and inflammation of the nasal passages help contain the spread of the infection – the viruses are sensitive to any elevation of body temperature.

There are more than 1000 viruses. Immunity to one bug is no guarantee of protection against its cousin, which is one reason that kids get frequent attacks of cold.



Coughing is body’s method of expelling harmful material (a bit of food swallowed the wrong way, dust excess mucus) from the respiratory tract.

Coughing can be mild or severe, dry or productive. The latter brings up mucus or phlegm. A tickling cough without throat soreness may be due to nervousness or cigarette smoking, may be an indication of allergy, or may simply be the result of lack of moisture.

Cough can be symptomatic of a wide range of diseases that include chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, hay fever, asthma, chronic lung abscess, lung cancer, or it may be merely a symptom of the common cold. Smokers may develop a chronic cough.

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