Our Respiratory system is divided into the upper and lower respiratory tract, the larynx being their anatomical border.
Common cold is very frequent and plagues many people for days or even for weeks.
Common cold should be distinguished from the flu. Although they often have similar symptoms, they may in some cases have totally different progression requiring different treatment.
Common cold can be due to hundreds of known viruses (150-200), the coronavirus family being the dominating ones. The most frequent among the coronavirus family is called rhinovirus.
Symptoms and their severity vary. These can be nasal congestion and runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, even slight fever. Depending on the area to be affected - mainly in the upper respiratory tract-, the infection may be sinusitis, nasopharyngitis or otitis (which is the most frequent case in common cold).
The infection can in certain cases pass through the larynx defensive barrier, affecting the lower respiratory tract. This in turn triggers cough, varying from plain cough, sparse dry cough up to severe coughing attacks, which implies infection of the bronchi, thus bronchitis.
Treatment includes good food, rest and frequent hand washing. In case of persistence of the infection, it is recommended that we consult our family doctor, since a potential bacterial infection complication requires treatment with antibiotics.
Pharmaceutical research has not come up with particularly promising results yet. Symptomatic treatment may be administered, including decongestants, expectorants and antitussives formulations. The number and diversity of viruses make preparation of a vaccine rather impossible.