Cold: What to do?

Cold is annoying - you smell and taste nothing, sleep bad and is always looking for handkerchiefs. Use the following tips to get rid of it and quickly breathe again. Runny nose (rhinitis) is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa by, for example, viruses. Normally, the mucous membrane in the nose and throat is a barrier to the body, which fends off pathogens. If the mucous membrane is damaged before, for example because it is poorly perfused or dried out, the viruses have an easy time. The attacked mucous secretes more mucus - first the secretion is rather fluid and clear, later yellowish and thicker. In addition, the nasal mucosa swells, making breathing difficult - and impairing smelling and tasting.

What causes colds?

Almost all people first think of a cold or allergy (hay fever) with a runny nose, but there are other causes as well:

  • Infections: Mostly, colds are caused by an infection with viruses, for example by rhinoviruses or influenza viruses. This "common" common cold usually lasts no longer than eight to ten days, not infrequently, other cold symptoms such as coughing or sore throat occur.
  • Allergies: More and more people suffer from allergic rhinitis, hay fever. It is an overreaction of our immune system to certain proteins contained in plant pollen. As soon as the pollen gets into the eyes or nose of an allergic person, the immune system begins to play crazy - the eyes are watering, the nose is running. The "usual suspects" of hay fever are early flowering trees such as birch or hazelnut and grass pollen. Other causes of allergic cold include animal hair, house dust, mold, food or medicine.
  • Chronic cold: Chronic cold is caused by air pollution, smoking, certain medications, the influence of alcohol or by obstacles in the nose such as a curved nasal septum, polyps or even a tumor. Bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites cause the chronic symptoms, which are usually not constantly present, but always occur suddenly and often last only a few hours.
  • Polyps: mucosal protrusions of the nasal mucosa are called polyps - they are caused, for example, by a chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane. The breathing through the nose and the sense of smell are considerably impaired by polyps, frequently the inflamed mucous membrane colonizes bacteria and it comes to purulent cold.
  • Drunkennial: Especially insidious is runny nose, which is triggered by the regular use of nasal sprays. Many of these sprays contain so-called sympathomimetics that decongest the nasal mucosa. However, if these remedies are applied too long, they in turn lead to swelling of the nasal mucosa. If a nasal spray is used again, a vicious circle quickly develops.

Complications of colds

Sometimes a cold causes more serious complications and makes a visit to the doctor unavoidable. If the mucous membrane swells to a great extent and the secretion can no longer drain from the paranasal sinuses, it leads to sinusitis (sinusitis), which is accompanied by severe headache and often fever.

In children, the cold can also lead to a very painful middle ear infection. For infants and toddlers, even a "normal" cold is problematic because they breathe almost exclusively through the nose, which makes it difficult to catch a cold and may therefore refuse to eat, which can quickly worsen the general condition.

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