THE COMMON COLD - A.K.A. UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION (URI). The common cold is CAUSED BY A VIRUS. They are the MOST FREQUENT human illness. 25 million seeks care for colds/year in the USA and SADLY 30% RESULT IN ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS!!!
The CC is actually a HUGE economic burden because it is the most common cause of missing work and school, totaling 500 million per/yr.
CHILDREN UNDER 6 YEARS OF AGE, WILL USUALLY GET 6-8 COLDS PER YEAR.
CHILDREN WILL OFTEN HAVE ONE COLD PER MONTH SEPT-APRIL
ADULTS WILL USUALLY GET 2-3 COLDS PER YEAR.
......and you may ask..... Why start in September.... Is this because that is when the COLD WEATHER sets in???? Actually... it is scientifically proven that cold weather does not cause or affect a cold, .... IT IS MORE LIKELY DUE TO ATTENDING SCHOOL WITH MANY OTHER LITTLE KIDS, AND WE ALL STAY INSIDE WITH EACH OTHER AND OUR BEST BUDDIES GERMS! But, to give the "weather" hypothesis some credit, it has been shown that more viruses survive LONGER in winter when the indoor humidity is actually quite low.
The ways that URI's are spread, in order are:
- HAND CONTACT
- Small Air droplets (coughing, sneezing)
- Large Air Droplets (this occurs when you get the virus directly on your mucus membranes -i.e. eyes, nasal passages, mouth)
IT is important to remember two things:
- HAND WASHING IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO PREVENT COLDS, this is because of #2..
- >90% of people have NO VIRUS IN THEIR SALIVA therefore air droplets are less virulent (think of how snot is not saliva and little kids are touching their snotty noses and touching your hands etc....)
it is NORMAL for your snot to start clear and turn white then yellowish-green later. It can still be a common cold even with green snot. In fact colored snot (i.e. green) is a NORMAL self-limited phase of the common cold.
THERE IS NO CURE FOR THE COMMON COLD. ANTIBIOTICS PLAY NO ROLE (note anti -bacterial NOT anti-viral and the CC is VIRAL).
THERE IS A 1 IN 4,000 CHANCE THAT AN ANTIBIOTIC WILL HELP THE COMMON COLD. if you take antibiotics for a cold they will eventually lead to increased resistance and lead to more serious resistance infections.
The best way to PREVENT a common cold is:
- FREQUENT HAND WASHING (good old soap and water)
- Do not touch eyes or your nose
- COUGH OR SNEEZE INTO CROOK OF ARM, OR INTO SHIRT, not hands!!!
- Vitamin C (200-500 mg daily)
MEASURING SPOONS WHEN DOSING THE MEDICATIONS, because a basic kitchen T-SPOON from the store is around 2-10 mL, whereas a MEDICAL dosage is based off of a BAKING MEASURING T-SPOON IS, WHICH IS 5 ML. Be careful not to use the "large" spoons, because they are about 15 mL. The thing to remember is your basic kitchen spoon is extermely variable and you could easily overdose your child by not using BAKING MEASURING SPOONS.