Stages of the common cold
From the moment of meeting with the infection until the complete disappearance of the symptoms of the disease, there are three stages of rhinitis. The duration of the course of the disease is associated with the timing of the body’s production of antibodies, interferons — substances aimed at destroying the infection.
Let’s list three stages of acute rhinitis:
Initial (reflex, dry irritation phase). At this stage, a pathogenic agent penetrates the nasal mucosa, causing the expansion of epithelial blood vessels and mild swelling. The surface of the mucosa remains dry for the time being.
Characteristic symptoms are:
- itching with sneezing,
- burning sensation,
- difficulty in nasal breathing,
- a slight fever (rarely).
The duration of the reflex stage varies from a few hours to a couple of days. With good immunity, timely recognition of unpleasant symptoms, and taking appropriate measures at this stage, the development of rhinitis can be prevented.
Catarrhal (wet, serous discharge phase). It is characterized by an increase in the permeability of the mucosa and the outflow of lymph from the vessels into the tissue, which entails severe edema.
Characteristic symptoms are:
- transparent discharge from the nose;
- irritation under the nose and on the upper lip;
- impossibility of nasal breathing;
- the hoarse timbre of the voice;
- decreased taste, sense of smell, and appetite;
- Temperature rise.
- The catarrhal stage usually lasts two to three days.
The third (final). It occurs on the fifth day after the onset of the disease. Accompanied by copious secretions of thick viscous, transparent mucus. At this stage, with proper treatment, recovery occurs within two days.
However, if the runny nose is not treated, a bacterial infection may join in the third stage. In this case, the discharge from the nose becomes cloudy, acquires a yellow or greenish color and a sharp unpleasant odor. The temperature rises, the state of health worsens.
If the disease takes this form, it is necessary to consult a doctor. As a rule, in this case, a course of therapy with antibacterial drugs is prescribed — antibiotics or bacteriophages.
Causes of the common cold
The causes of the common cold in children and adults are similar. The pathogen that penetrates the nasal mucosa and causes an infectious and inflammatory process is most often of a viral and bacterial nature.
Also, an attack of acute rhinitis can be provoked by contact with an allergen-irritant.
Other causes of the common cold:
- hormonal disorders;
- exacerbation of chronic diseases of the nasal cavity;
- weak immunity;
- long-term use of certain medications;
- abrupt climatic changes.
Suppose the prerequisites for the appearance of a runny nose are not obvious. In that case, you can always use modern diagnostic methods, including PCR studies of smears from the nasal cavity and pharynx, a general blood test with a leukocytogram, fibro, and endoscopy, ultrasound, etc. For these and other studies, the patient is referred by the attending general practitioner or otolaryngologist.
Treatment of a runny nose with pharmacy products
In the medical treatment of a runny nose, the following drugs are used individually or in combination:
Vasoconstrictor sprays are topical pharmaceutical preparations for relieving edema and restoring normal nasal breathing. Some sprays contain additional active components in their composition: hormones, antibiotics, immunomodulators, antihistamines, etc.
Sprays based on seawater, additionally enriched with minerals and emollient components. They act as local antiseptics, sanitize and moisturize the nasal mucosa, kill some types of pathogens.
Nasal vasoconstrictor drops. They have the same composition and purpose as sprays, but they differ somewhat in the method and area of exposure. Suppose any spray rinses the surface of the nasal mucosa exclusively. In that case, the drops penetrate deeper, affecting the endothelium and flowing down the mucosa, involving the nasopharynx in the therapeutic process.
Pills. This group of drugs includes countless medications for various purposes: antiviral, immunomodulatory, antibacterial, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, etc.
All of the above means should be used after consulting with your doctor.
How to quickly cure a runny nose in a child?
To wash the nose in children, it is necessary to use sprays with a “soft shower” type nozzle. Jet sprays are not recommended for children under three years of age! The solution supplied in large quantities and under strong pressure can get from the nasopharynx into the ear and cause inflammation.
Cleansing the nasal cavity with a runny nose in a baby requires special attention. If nasal breathing is disrupted, the child will not sleep and take the breast.
To clean the nose of a newborn, use a nasal spray based on the seawater with a “soft shower” nozzle. Make one injection into each nostril. You can also use a drug of a similar effect in the form of drops, dropping two into each nostril with a pipette. As a result, the crusts in the nasal passages will soften, and they can be easily removed with a cotton swab or with a nasal aspirator.
It is especially dangerous to “run” a runny nose in childhood. In babies, the nasal mucosa is characterized by increased looseness and the presence of a large number of blood and lymphatic vessels. With a viral infection in children, edema develops much more rapidly than in adults and is accompanied by abundant mucus formation.
If the condition worsens and the body temperature rises, it is recommended to show the child to the pediatrician as soon as possible.
Be attentive to your health and do not allow the transition of a common cold into a chronic form. If you get sick and could not cure a runny nose quickly at home within a week, be sure to make an appointment with a specialist.