The common cold

The common cold is a short, mild and usually self-limiting illness. However, it has a substantial impact in terms of school absence and complications, including secondary bacterial infection and exacerbation of underlying respiratory conditions.

Children may have up to 12 colds per year, usually acquired from day care or from siblings.

Causative organisms of the common cold are viruses . There are more than 200 types.

Clinical presentation

Rhinorrhea, sore throat, cough, fever and malaise lasting up to 7 day and often a lingering mucopurulent nasal discharge.

In infants colds may manifest as irritability, snuffles and difficulty with feeding.

Infants under 3 months of age are particularly susceptible to rapidly evolving secondary bacterial LRTI, and other infections such as septicemia, meningitis and pneumonia should be considered in infants with poor feeding.

Forign body and alargic rhinitis may have similar presentation.

Nonspecific measures such as humidified air, nasal decongestants, vitamin C and zinc have reported some positive results.There is no evidence to support treatment with antibiotics.

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