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A common cold is an infection that affects the upper respiratory tract – the nose, throat, sinuses (small spaces in the skull behind the eyes and nose), trachea (the main airway that runs to the lungs), larynx (voice box) and bronchial tubes (the airways in the lungs).
The symptoms of common cold can include: sneezing; a blocked nose; a runny nose (rhinorrhea); beginning with clear fluid (mucus) that often becomes a thicker, yellow/green fluid after 2-3 days; sore throat; pain when swallowing; mild fever (a high temperature between 37-38.3C or 98.6-101.0F); mild earache; tiredness; headache and coughing. The symptoms of a cold tend to be worse during the first 2-3 days and then ease over the next few days. Some colds can last up to two weeks.
Possible Symptoms of Common Cold
- Congested nose and sinuses
- Sore throat, maybe itchy, dry and/or painful
- Excess phlegm and mucus
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Mild fever
- Mild earache
Western Medicine Point of View
To relieve the symptoms of a common cold, the following self-care advice may be helpful: drink plenty of Clear Water to keep yourself hydrated – this is especially important for children. Water is best, but warm drinks can be soothing.
Try to rest and avoid strenuous activities. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, but make sure that fresh air is circulating.(open the windows) A cough medicine may help to soothe a ticklish or dry cough.
Over-the-counter medications may be available from your local pharmacy for a cough and common cold. If the OTC medications doesn’t help, you should seek Dr’s Diagnosis for Prescription medications.
Smoke irritates the nose and throat. Try to avoid being around people who smoke and avoid smoke-filled environments. If you are a smoker, try to smoke as little as possible while you are feeling unwell.
Raising the head of your bed slightly by placing a pillow under the mattress can help reduce coughing at night. Also, steam inhalation, decongestants, antihistamines, paracetomol, ibuprofen or aspirin could relieve cold symptoms.
TCM Point of View
TCM discerns two stages to the average cold: The early stage is mild and lasts from a few hours up to a day or two (invasion of wind and cold). These symptoms may arise following exposure to a cold draft or air conditioning or perhaps after overworking. If you are attentive, you may observe these symptoms and should treat them as soon as you notice them. You may be able to prevent them from progressing.
Early stage common cold symptoms:
- Chilled feeling
- Scratchy sore throat
- Sneezing clear and runny nasal discharge
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck
- Achy muscles
- Stiff neck
If this stage goes untreated, you may progress to the usual course of more severe upper respiratory symptoms (invasion of wind and heat). It requires that another kind of herbal formula be taken for a few days.
Later stage common cold symptoms:
- Very sore throat
- Yellow nasal discharge and sputum
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Achy muscles
Acupuncture can be prescribed to eliminate Wind-Cold and relieve symptoms of common cold. Acupuncture can be combined with moxibustion, which involves igniting a cone or cylinder of moxa close to the skin, for patients with weakened constitutions to boost up weakend immune system.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion can also be used to eliminate Wind-Heat. Herbal formulas can be prepared for the common cold, and also for the more pervasive variety of colds.
Most colds can be contained (if caught early) or at least be resolved in a matter of days.
Please note that this approach is appropriate only for viral cold symptoms. You should see your doctor for an evaluation if your symptoms do not resolve in 5 days, as a more intensive therapy may be necessary.
Balanced Life Style: Good rest, Good food, and Positive attitude: Eat enough vegetables and fruits for Vitamin C. If you get common cold often, and it can mean that your immune system is Weak. And TCM herbal medicine can help boost up your immune system.