The Common Cold
Author: Jim Martinez
Welcome to a new year, and yet another cold season. If you're like most adults, you'll likely have a cold two to four times in the next 12 months. Children, especially preschoolers, have it even worse, getting as many as eight to 10 colds annually.Although most colds aren't considered serious illnesses, they certainly can affect the way you feel and function. That may be why the nonprescription drug section of most stores is packed with potential cold remedies. Still, not all products are effective. Some may pose health risks if they're taken incorrectly, with other medications, or if you have certain medical conditions. To learn more about the common cold and some popular treatments, read on.
Hundreds of viruses, particularly rhinoviruses, can cause what's known as the common cold. Even though nasal secretions expelled from sneezes or coughs can spread cold viruses, these viruses often are caught by having hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects such as doorknobs, computer keyboards or telephones. Once you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after such exposure to a cold virus, you can acquire a cold.
Colds often occur during cold-weather months-a fact that has led many to believe that exposure to chilly temperatures can cause this illness. But this is a myth. Instead, when temperatures dip, most people spend more time indoors, where they typically have closer, more prolonged contact with others who may be sick.