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Acute viral nasopharyngitis, also called as the common cold, is a mild viral infection of the nose and throat. A cold is accompanied by its best friends: sneezing, sniffling, runny nose, nasal congestion, cough and sore throat. A cold is the most common human disease, and can typically last three to five days. Children and parents are the ones who are usually infected the most, largely because of the physical interaction between kids at school, and because avoiding physical proximity with a sick child is almost impossible for a parent.

So, how can you avoid getting a cold, or other flu causing viruses? Here are a few tips for keeping that cold at a foot’s length:

  • Avoid touching things that may have been infected.
  • Use a paper napkin to open/close bathroom door knobs (especially in public rest rooms)
  • Use the back of your hand to flip light switches
  • Sneeze into your elbows instead of into the palm of your hands
  • Avoid touching others’ keyboard, mouse and phone

Ultimately, the only way to avoid a cold is to avoid physical or close contact with those who are infected, and avoid touching potentially infected objects. Anti-bacterial soaps work well against common house-hold germs, but prove to be no good against neutralizing the cold virus.

How to blow your nose
Yes, there is a right way, and a wrong way to do even the simplest of things – like blowing your nose. The best way to blow your nose is t keep one of the nostrils open, while gently blowing out through the other. Blowing too hard, or blowing while keeping both nostrils open, could result in putting too much pressure on your ear drums and sinuses, and might even cause the infection to be pushed into the ears or sinus, thus leading to an ear or sinus infection.

Is there a cure?
The common cold, caused by frequently mutating viruses, makes medication or immunization impractical and ineffective. Also, because a virus need a “host” (you) in order to multiply, and cannot multiply on their own, and because anti-biotics work only on bacteria and not viruses, doctors usually leave the cure to your body’s immune system.

However, there are some things you can do to feel better sooner than later:

  • Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Get plenty of rest – stay home if possible.
  • Try to avoid public places if possible to prevent infecting others
  • Take pain and fever reducing medication like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen.

– Ravi Jayagopal
Warning: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor.

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