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Common Cold Facts – Causes & Prevention

Biology | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

Once, a man in a small village caught common cold. He went to consult the village doctor. The cunning village doctor just wanted to sell his medicines, so he told the innocent man, “I have the cure for your cold. If you take my medicines, you will get cured in just seven days. However, if you don’t, it may take a week for you to become well again.” The gullible man purchased a whole lot of medicines from him and was thus totally befooled by the scheming doctor. The fact is there is no cure for the common cold as of date!

What is Common Cold?

The common cold is a viral disease which infects the lining within your nose. It is the most common illness on the planet, and the worst part about it is that: Nothing cures it! Over the years, many remedies have been touted as possible cures for the common cold, but all they do is offer temporary relief.

Can we cure Common Cold?

Till date a huge amount of money has been invested in the research for finding an effective cough and cold medications, but there is no headway as yet. So, what could be the reason? May be because the illness is relatively harmless, mild and self-limiting, meaning whether you do anything to cure it or not, it will go away on its own in about a week’s time. The other reason and more important reason is that there are literally more than 200 different viruses that cause cold. It is not possible for our scientists to develop a vaccine or medication to kill one or even a few of these viruses, as it just would not be enough!

There are many a medicines in the world that are touted as the “cure” for the common cold, few of them being Vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea. But, the recent studies have shown this is just wishful thinking!

However, there are certain things that you can do to feel better if you ever catch a cold. You can have hot tea with ginger, do gargles, and have hot chicken or garlic soup to get some respite from the cold. Taking hot water bath and steam will also help in reducing the nasal congestion.

How to keep a Cold at bay?

If you really hate getting sick, here are some quick pointers for you to keep this ‘invincible’ (as on date) viral disease at bay:-

  • Wash your hands for at least 30-40 seconds with warm water and soap to get rid of the invading germs. This is the most important step to preventing the spread of disease and staying healthy. You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub (hand-sanitizer) that is easily available in the market, to kill germs.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables, getting regular exercise will strengthen your immune system so you will be less likely to get sick.
  • Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration is vital for a strong immune system and will help you feel better as well.
  • Common cold is a contagious (infectious) disease. So, you must stay away from the people suffering from cold and cough.
  • Do not touch your eyes and nose frequently to avoid infecting yourself with germs that you may have picked up from your surroundings.
  • If despite of taking all the above mentioned precautions, if you have somehow gotten infected, please do not inflict one’s cold on others! Cover ones nose and mouth with a tissue or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, and then wash your hands. Avoid shaking hands with people.

So what if it is not possible to cure the common cold, we can certainly keep it at bay by taking these simple precautions. It is after all, prevention is always better than cure!

For more such biology articles and videos, visit: http://mocomi.com/learn/science/biology/

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