It’s the rainy season and the whizzing and sniffing just got worse for so many people.
Colds typically have a cycle of four distinct phases. Each phase can vary in its severity and duration. By understanding the life cycle of colds you will be able to treat them more effectively and reduce the likelihood of secondary infections such as bronchitis, ear infections, sinusitis etc.
There are around 200 strains of cold virus, but for a typical cold, these are the phases:
1: The odd tickle
You’ll start to feel sneezy. Your body may ache and you’ll likely have an odd soreness in your throat that you just can’t shift – like dust is clogged up in your throat.
Get straight into bed to try to try to prevent your symptoms progressing onto the next stage… with warm liquids like hot soup or herbal tea.
2: Runny nose
Eating lunch? Stop reading now. Here’s the part where your nose runs like a tap – it’s not nice as the colour changes from clear to thick greenish yellow.
A warm or hot shower can ease nasal congestion. It can feel like it’ll never break through but clearing your airways can ultimately help prevent a sinus infection.
Because of your runny nose situation, you may also develop a mild cough. Due to inflammation around the airways, the cough may persist after your other symptoms are long gone.
Annoying, but don’t worry, a visit to the pharmacist can solve this.
7: Feeling better
Most cold sufferers will get better with rest and over-the-counter remedies. At this stage, after the infection, you will start to produce antibodies that prevent you from catching that particular cold virus again.
Things not to do when suffering a cold:
- Drink cold water
- Consume sugar, fruit juice, cordial, soft drinks or sports drinks
- Drink high caffeine containing drinks such as tea and coffee
- Engage in high impact or intense sports or exercise
- Skip meals
- Eat processed breakfast cereals
- Eat excessive raw foods including fruit or salad
You should visit the hospital, if:
- You have a high temperature above 39°C that does not come down even if you take ibuprofen and/or paracetamol
- You are confused or disorientated
- You notice a sharp pain in your chest
- You are experiencing difficulty in breathing
- You cough up blood-stained phlegm (thick mucus)
- You notice a swelling of the glands in your neck and/or armpits
- Your symptoms last longer than 3 weeks
Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments!