Common Cold and Enigma
|Previous||1 of 1||Next|
small (250x250 max)
medium (500x500 max)
large ( > 500x500)
Common cold an enigma 11-17-81 By SALLY REESE Times Medical Writer The common cold is part of the hu-man condition. Despite its om-nipresence, it remains an enigma. There is no really effective vaccine to protect us from it. There probably are several dozen viruses that can cause a cold, according to Dr. Larry E. Slay, chief of the general medicine section at LSU Medical Cen-ter. That is why it is difficult to develop a vaccine that will work against them in all situations, said the internist. So the common cold has to run its course, and all we can do is try to relieve the symptoms until it does. If we take care of ourselves, said Slay, it should run its course in a week or less. Most colds occur in the wintertime, "but we don't know why," Slay said. About 20 percent occur in the sum-mertime. "It's not entirely the temperature that causes more colds in the cold months, so we don't think the weather has anything to do with it," he said. It is spread person-to-person by sneezing or by hand-to-hand trans-mission, and the risk of catching it varies directly with the density of popu-lation. The people most prone to inhale or pick up a cold germ are those in en-vironments where they are exposed to the most people, Slay pointed out. Espe-cially vulnerable are children, parents of children and people who work around children. "Children may get as many as a half-dozen colds a year," Slay said. "Parents may get three or four, whereas others have one or two a year." Any closed environment increases the risk of getting a cold, Slay said, and "that's why we see it spread in the school rooms." There is no evidence that antibiotics are of any use in preventing a cold, said the doctor, and vitamin C's efficacy is not supported by studies. "We cannot show that vitamin C, even in large doses, prevents the com-mon cold." Once you get a cold, you can expect to have it a week, Slay said. The symptoms may include a runny, stuffed-up nose, sneezing, watery eyes, a sore throat and cough, a headache and a slight fever. Most of them should clear up within a week, he said, although the cough may persist beyond that time. When you get a cold, take an aspirin or a Tylenol, drink lots of liquids and get rest, the physician advised. There are many things that can help bring relief, he said, citing as an example the salt-water gargle for relief of a sore throat. "We discourage using nose sprays because they can make nasal congestion worse if abused." Slay does not recommend staying away from work to keep from exposing others. The common cold moves in waves, he said. "We tend to have it all at the same time. So one person staying off the job won't make any difference." People with emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and other chronic lung dis-orders, people with heart diseases, and elderly people in general "should check with their doctors if they have more than minor symptoms with cold, for they may have flu or pneumonia." With emphysema, he said, the common cold could lead to respiratory failure. "We routinely recommend flu and pneumonia immunization for these peo-ple," he said. "Right now, in the clinic here we are screening and offering immunization to whoever falls into - these categories." Cold medications evaluated by FDA Once you've actually been caught by the beast known as the common cold, there is no cure. However, there are things you can do to minimize your suffering and help your own healing process. Rest is very important. So is drinking a lot of fluids — fruit juices, water, clear broths and other soups will help. In fact, in ancient Rome, a com-mon remedy for a cold was sipping a broth made from an onion and warm water. For other tips on how to cope effec-tively, write for a free reprint of an article on colds from The FDA Con-sumer. Over-the-counter cold and cough medications were evaluated for the article by an FDA advisory panel. For your copy of the Common Cold, write to the Consumer Information Center, Dept. 579J, Pueblo, Colo. 81009. (Times graphic) A cold usually starts with a sore throat, sneezing and a runny nose SNIFF!
|Title||Common Cold and Enigma|
Common Cold Virus
Slay, Larry E.
|Identifier||See reference URL on the navigation bar.|
|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|