What is common cold?
The common cold is a contagious viral infection that infects upper respiratory tract. Over two hundred viruses are known to cause this disease- this is the reason people catch a common cold over & over again.
How the virus is transited
A virus known as rhinovirus finds its way into the cells lining the nose and begins to reproduce. It comes from other people- cold weather is not the cause of cold. However, the fact that cold weather conditions make people congregate together in an enclosed place makes transmission of the virus much easier. The virus moves from one person’s hands to your hands (through an intermediary surface such as a doorknob or directly) & from your hands right to your eyes or nose.
Your body will react to the presence of this virus with its immune system. The immune system will open up blood vessels via inflation and also increase the secretion of mucus. These processes will give you the stuffy feeling and the running nose. The irritation brought about by the virus & all of the fluid makes you sneeze.
If the virus happens to make it to cells lining your lungs, they will start to produce mucus that eventually leads to coughing.
As your immune system gears up over a number of days & fights the virus, mucus thickens and eventually changes color with dead cells. Finally, your immune system gets rid of the virus completely.
Although the common cold can be caused by more than a hundred viruses, the most common culprit is the rhinovirus, and it is highly contagious.
The virus can enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth. This virus also spreads through droplets in the air when a sick person talks, sneezes or coughs. It can also spread through sharing of contaminated objects like towels, utensils, telephone or toys. If you touch your nose, mouth or eyes, after such an exposure or contact, you are likely to catch a cold.
Another deadly virus that causes common cold includes:
Although there are several varieties of this virus that can affect animals, only 5 of them infect humans. After the deadly rhinoviruses, this group is the second leading cause of common cold. It is estimated that this group causes about ten to fifteen percent of colds.
Adenoviruses, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Human Parainfluenza Viruses (HPIVs)
This category of viruses normally causes mild infection especially in adults; however they may cause severe lower respiratory tract infection in the elderly, small children as well as in individuals with immune systems that are weak.
Asthmatic children, premature babies and those suffering from heart or lung diseases are at a greater risk of suffering from pneumonia or bronchitis-related complications.
In summary, the leading cause of cold is rhinovirus. The virus is spread through direct contact or intermediary objects. The virus enters the body through the eye, mouth or the nose. In most cases, your immune system is able to fight off the virus and eliminate it from the body.