Respiratory Tract Infections ( common cold)

Common cold

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Common cold

Respiratory tract infection

A term used to describe infection of all the parts of the body that are involved in helping a person to breathe. Respiratory tract infection can be divided into: Upper respiratory tract infection  and Lower respiratory tract infection. Upper Respiratory Tract include the nose, sinuses, pharynx and trachea.

Common upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) include: 

  • Common cold 
  • Sore throat – usually due to an infection of the pharynx (pharyngitis) 
  • Tonsillitis – infection of the tonsils 
  • Sinusitis – infection of the sinuses 
  • Laryngitis – infection of the larynx.

Coryza (common cold). Is caused by a number of viruses: Rhinovirus, Adenovirus, coxsackievirus,  influenza virus, and parainfluenza. which are spread by droplets and by indirect transmission such as through freshly infected articles (handkerchiefs) 

Mode of Transmission of Common Cold

Droplet infection through talks, coughs, laughs, or sneezes discharges. Causative microorganisms is carried in droplets from infected person to another via respiratory tract. Airborne disease spread more easily when there is overcrowding

Major Signs and Symptoms of common cold 

  • Running nose and sneezing
  • Fever 
  • Malaise
  • Headache 
  • Running eye
  • Nasal congestion 
  • Sore throat
  • Cough 

Treatment of Common Cold

Since it is caused by a virus, no effective treatment is available; treatment is generally focused on symptomatic relief and prevention of person to person spread and complications.

The mainstays of therapy are as follows:

• Rest

• Hydration

• Antihistamines

• Nasal decongestants

• Well balanced diet


• Steam therapy. Relieve discomfort

• Avoid excessive blowing (infection of sinuses, Eustachian tube)

There is Symptomatic treatment such as follow;

  • Headache and fever may be relieved by; Antipyretics,  Analgesics e.g. ASA, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen. 
  • Nasal congestion may temporarily be relieved
    by Ephedrine nose drop, and Oral decongestants (pseudoephedrine) and topical decongestants (oxymetazoline and phenylephrine)

Prevention and Control of Common Cold and other URTIs

  • Prevent droplet infection from being inhaled by others
  • Improve ventilation for example building houses with adequate window to allow natural air flow
  • Avoid overcrowding e.g. building houses with enough space
  • Isolation may be required for some conditions Cold and other URTIs
  • Health education about personal hygiene,  such as: To cover the mouth when coughing and sneezing
  • Use handkerchief or paper for disposal of nasal secretion and sputum
  • Avoid to spit on the ground or outside the house

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