WHAT IS A COLD?
A cold is a viral infection that can be caused by one of more than 200 different viruses. Although a nuisance, the symptoms should start to fade after 2-3 days and clear up within 10 days.1,2 A cold is only caught if you make contact with the virus. You can come into contact with the virus through the air when someone sneezes or coughs or by touching infected surfaces. This is why it's believed colds are more common in the winter months; it isn't because of the cold air, but possibly because people are more likely to be inside and in close contact with one another.3
Symptoms of a cold include a headache, sneezing, a sore throat, a cough, and a blocked and runny nose.2 A blocked nose can make the simple act of breathing difficult, which may result in disrupted sleep patterns and make it difficult to rest. Treatment options for nasal congestion include saline nasal drops, inhaling steam or decongestant tablets.4 A nasal spray like Otrivin can be used for a blocked nose for fast and long-lasting relief.4
1 Grief, N. 2005. Upper Respiratory Infections. Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Suite 186B, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2 Eccles, R. 2009. Mechanisms of symptoms of common cold and flu. Basel, Birkhauser
3 Healthdirect (2018). "What causes colds and flu?" https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/what-causes-colds-and-flu. (Accessed 05-02-2019).
4 Common cold – Management. NICE CKS. Available from https://cks.nice.org.uk/common-cold#!scenario (Accessed 10 July 2018).