In the winter months the misery starts again for many people: the eternal cold and more chance of a nasty flu ... Although a cold has nothing to do with the increasing cold in the autumn, or with wet clothes or wet hair, it is striking that precisely in this period that annoying ailment rises faster. In places where many people gather close - work, school, daycare, bus or train - you can easily get a virus. This is more pronounced for the winter months when your resistance decreases slightly and everyone mostly stays inside.
Cold is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa, the paranasal sinuses and the throat. It is caused by infection with a virus (viral rhinitis) or by an allergy (allergic rhinitis). The best known is the common nasal cold, caused by one of the hundreds of types of cold viruses.
The nose is lined with mucous membrane on the inside. This mucous membrane humidifies and warms the inhaled air, forms a barrier against microorganisms from the outside and thus releases released waste. When you are infected with a cold virus, the mucous membranes swell in the nasal cavity and the mucus secretion (secretion) increases.
Children can get a cold 6 to 10 times a year, adult on average 2 - 5 times. This difference has to do with the ripening of the immune system. Contamination takes place through direct contact: shaking hands, coughing or sneezing, kissing and cuddling.
Unfortunately, you can always catch a cold everywhere and always, but fortunately it will pass by itself. After the infection your immune system automatically resolves the problem. When your resistance is lowered - as in winter, but also with fatigue and stress - you are more susceptible to (cold) viruses.
The symptoms of a cold occur about 2 to 3 days after the infection. In children, the first symptoms are reduced appetite, being sticky and 'not good', and fever. In case of high fever, be alert that your child is getting enough fluid. Adults usually do not suffer from fever, but experience only moderate temperature rise.
You can also suffer from:
- swelling of the mucous membranes
- a stuffy nose
- excessive production of aqueous mucus (snot)
- sneezing, coughing and sore throat
- headache and possible pressure in the jaws
- greenish snouts (as a sign of secondary, pus-forming micro-organisms)
- reduced smell and less appetite
Your immune system automatically attacks the virus and after about ten days your cold is over. If there is no improvement or complications develop, consult your doctor. You can not combat a cold effectively: the virus is home to your cells and antibiotics have no reach there. The only thing you can do is support your general body functions, keep your immune system up to date and seek relief from your complaints.
Complications in a cold
A cold is in itself reasonably innocent. There is a greater chance of microorganisms entering during the course of the disease. These can cause complications in the parts below such as: bronchitis (fever, cough, yellow / green mucus, shortness of breath, pain deep breathing), jaw inflammation (throbbing pain, pain when stooping, fever), middle ear infection (fierce stabbing pain, fever). If your cold does not go away by itself and you experience one of these symptoms, consult your doctor.
Relief with a cold
You can not treat colds, but you can do something to relieve your symptoms:
- Take paracetamol to combat your feeling of malaise
- Paracetamol (suppositories) to suppress the fever of your child
- In case of fever: make sure there is enough moisture, avoid drying out!
- Lubricate your throat: with small sips of fluid, throat tablets, sweets, liquorice
- Regular nose blowing ... and protect your nose and lips with a greasy cream
- Use a nasal pump (large rubber pipette) to suck away the mucus (useful in babies!)
- Use (children's) nasal drops or saline to make your nose clear
- Use a soothing cough drink (such as tiger syrup), or possibly a cough drink with medicines (such as Noscapine, also for children) against cough stimulus, or with an expectorant effect (Bisolvon, very dirty for children ...)
- Steaming with eucalyptus (Vicks / Dampo or Luuf Baby)
- Eucalyptus balm (Vicks / Dampo or Luuf Baby) on your chest
Avoid dairy products (promotes mucus secretion)
- Take enough rest to let your body do its repair work
- Use extra vitamin C to support your immune system
- Drink a hot grog (fresh orange juice / lemon juice, sugar or honey, cinnamon and cognac!)
Children and colds
Nothing is so pathetic as your little crumb that wakes up crying and anxious at night from a stuffy nose, with a thick layer of snot caked under his nose! What you can do is only lighten the complaints for a short time. Understanding, attention and love are the best medicine!
Relief from a cold in children
- Infants suffer directly from drinking their bottle when they have a cold. Nose snouts is an art and skill that your young child must practice and gradually learn. A nasal pump (kind of large rubber pipette) is a simple solution to literally slosh the watery mucus away from your child's nose. Spray with nasal drops or saline solution will temporarily stop the swelling and also provide relief - especially with bottles.
- Your child will have no appetite for food: give him small portions of things he likes, for example a (fresh) fruit juice with cake. Dairy products - including Danoon, ice cream, custard, etc. - promote mucus secretion in the mouth / pharynx. Give your child a water ice cream, or lemonade / tea.
- Be alert to fever. Make sure that your child gets enough fluid - if necessary, distribute little bits throughout the day. Chamomile tea with honey is ideal for giving your little one (from 1 year) extra fluid per bottle and softens the raw throat.
- Your child gets a chapped taste of all that slippery fluid that drips down his nose! Take care of a nice layer of oily cream (Purol!) Around the nose, the lips and if necessary the whole face to prevent a fiery skin.
- Ventilate the bedroom of your child well; central heating makes the air dry and this irritates the mucous membranes unnecessarily.
- If your baby is coughing a lot, put him slightly obliquely: place a towel or flat pillow under the main part of the mattress.
- Prepare your child for the night: brush his breast with eucalyptus balm; muzzle his nose or remove the mucus with a nasal pump; give kids nasal drops or saline, if necessary; if necessary, give some cough.
- Cough drinks come in different types and flavors, and with different effects: soothing, expectorant, coughing stimulus suppressing. Ask your pharmacy or chemist for advice and let yourself be well informed about (hidden) sugars and mouth / dental care.
- If your child can drink independently, give him a bottle or spout of water in bed, so that he himself can lubricate his throat in between - it also gives you more rest ...
Did you know…
- Do not use nasal drops for more than a week, they are very effective but affect the nasal mucosa when used for a long time.
- Special nose drops are available that are less 'aggressive' to the mucous membrane.
- Expensive throat pastilles have the sole effect of smearing your throat. The same effect is obtained with small sips of moisture, sucking on a bit of acid, lollipop or licorice!
- You can not prevent infection with a cold virus ... unless you live like a hermit.
- Those who eat enough fruits and vegetables do not need extra vitamin supplements.
- In case of allergic rhinitis, for example caused by pollen or dust, the cause can sometimes be remedied with medication.
- Cough drinks are often extremely sweetened to eliminate the medicinal taste ... Also the chewing on liquorice and throat tablets requires extra dental and / or oral care.