First symptoms of a cold are often itching, burning or tingling in the nose. Soon a watery runny nose and an increased sneeze begins. In addition, there are often - also by additional bacterial infections - a scratch in the throat, mild dysphagia, headache, cough, elevated temperature to fever and general complaints such as fatigue, malaise and shivering. A cold usually lasts 7-10 days.
Here are the common symptoms of a cold:
Runny nose (rhinitis)
A cold is the most common symptom of a flu infection. He is involved in 80% of the diseases. When rhinitis rhino viruses colonize the nasal mucosa. This inflames, swells and produces increased secretions, which is initially watery, later increasingly tough, yellowish-greenish. At the same time, the feeling of a stuffy nose and an increased sneeze arises.
Relief in the case of a cold causes drugs whose active agents cause the nasal mucous membrane to decongest (spray, drops, gel). They are applied directly to the nasal mucosa and cause the blood vessels to contract. The decongestant nasal mucosa also clears the ducts of the sinuses. The secretions formed in the sinuses can flow away more easily, the risk of sinusitis decreases.
However, nasal sprays are intended for short-term use only unless the doctor has prescribed prolonged use. Because the vessels in the nasal mucosa can regulate their width independently, with permanent use of decongestant nasal spray this ability is lost. As an alternative to nasal sprays, saline nasal drops (1 g of table salt in 100 ml of water) also provide the desired effect.
If it comes to the inflammation of the sinuses, help various herbal supplements. If the inflammation lasts longer than three days, antibiotics may be required. Beneficial for the respiratory tract are also essential oils such. As eucalyptus, camphor, peppermint or chamomile. They are sometimes applied directly to the skin or placed in hot water and inhaled. Inhaling hot steam also makes breathing easier.
For colds and mucous airways is generally: a lot of drinking, at least two liters per day! This makes the mucus liquid and makes it easier to drain. Moist towels over the heater provide moist, low-irritation air, which protects the inflamed mucous membranes. In acute bronchitis cough teas help. Thyme and plantain have a particularly antispasmodic effect.
If the cold expands, it becomes a sinusitis, which is also called sinusitis. It begins a few days after the cold and makes itself felt by a painful pressure feeling behind the cheekbones or eyes. The pains become worse when you bend down, they are particularly violent after getting up.
Cold viruses damage the lining of the respiratory tract, which provides ciliary hairs for the constant self-cleaning mechanism. Coughing is a sensible protective reflex. Foreign objects are transported from the airways in this way. In addition, in a cold but more mucus is formed, which is tougher than usual. The mucus is carried away worse and irritates the free nerve endings in the airways. In response, coughing occurs.
At the beginning of a cold he is usually still dry, so unproductive. In this case, often help old home remedies such as hot milk with honey or over-the-counter cough blockers such as dextromethorphan, pentoxyverine or clobutinol. They act on the cough center in the brain and reduce the coughing fits. Soothing, codeine-containing cough blockers are usually prescription and must be prescribed by the doctor. They are used when you feel badly affected by the cough, especially at night. Even extracts of medicinal plants, such as marshmallow root or Icelandic moss are used in irritating cough.
If the cough finally becomes mucilaginous, ie "more productive", you should use cough remover (expectorants) during the day. The active ingredient acetylcysteine, for example, changes the structure of the mucus, makes it less tough and thus facilitates removal. Active ingredients such as ambroxol or bromhexine stimulate the production of a thin liquid mucus. There are expectorants - depending of course on the active ingredient - in a variety of dosage forms, as juice, capsules, as effervescent tablets or as granules to dissolve. The last-mentioned preparations have the advantage that, in addition to the active ingredient, liquid is also consumed immediately.
Coughing can prove very persistent; even weeks after the cold, the respiratory tract can still be sensitive. You should go to the doctor if the cough lasts longer than two weeks, if you become hoarse, if you have breathing difficulties or if you are struggling with pain behind your breastbone. You should seek medical advice in any case, if the mucus turns yellowish or looks reddish by blood admixtures.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes in the area of the deep respiratory tract. Acute bronchitis develops when the common cold viruses also spread to the bronchial mucous membranes. Two to three days after the first sign of a cold, those affected develop a painful, strong cough, whose expectoration is white to yellowish. Often, fever and respiratory problems are added. Heavy smokers and people with lung disease, such as asthma sufferers, are particularly at risk of developing bronchitis.
Although the "real" flu / influenza is also transmitted by viruses, but is not one of the common cold. It starts suddenly, with a high fever and a bad feeling of illness. In contrast to other viruses, influenza viruses often spread to the lungs, brain or heart.
Fever is an important defense mechanism of the body and should therefore only be lowered in exceptional cases. If the symptoms are unbearable, cold calf compresses push the temperature down. It is important to consult the doctor if you have a high fever and the symptoms persist for several days.
The use of medication is advisable only from a temperature of 39 degrees, standard drugs are acetylsalicylic acid (short: ASS) and paracetamol. ASA must not be taken by children and adolescents with febrile illnesses due to the risk of "Reye syndrome", an acute, often deadly liver-brain disease. Without medical advice, these preparations should anyway not be taken over a longer period or in higher doses.
Sore throat or a scratch in the throat are medically difficult to influence. Gurgell solutions contain active ingredients that counteract the growth of germs in the mouth and throat. In addition, they ensure the moistening of the mucous membrane.
Lozenges and throat sprays help relieve the pain - for example, by slightly anesthetic drugs. These include substances such as benzocaine and lidocaine, which reduce the sensation of pain. Peppermint or sage sweets or gurgling with warm camomiles, tormentil or sage tea are just as effective. With hoarseness one should spare the voice. If the hoarseness lasts more than a week or if you have a particularly severe sore throat, the doctor should be consulted.
Headache and body aches
In case of headache and pain in the limbs, painkillers are used at short notice, which also reduce the fever at the same time. Among the best known active ingredients include acetaminophen, acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen. The properties of the active ingredients provide some clues for the selection: ASA and ibuprofen have an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect, paracetamol reduces fever and soothes pain.