A cold is a condition when the nose produces snot or mucus, either occasionally or continuously. The mucus that comes out can look clear, green, or yellowish. While the texture can be thin or thick, depending on the underlying cause.
Mucus is produced by glands in the nose and sinuses. The function of the mucus is to maintain the humidity of the airways, as well as prevent dirt and germs from entering the lungs.
A cold is one of the symptoms commonly experienced by patients with COVID-19. Therefore, if you have a cold, it is best to check yourself with a doctor to confirm the condition. Click the link below so that you can be directed to the nearest health facility:
- Rapid Antibody Test
- Antigen Swab (Rapid Antigen Test)
Causes of Colds
Colds occur when the inner lining of the nose and sinuses experience inflammation due to weather changes , or due to the entry of irritants or germs into the nose. The causes are very diverse, including:
A cold can occur when a virus infects the nose, throat, or sinuses. Examples are influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), sinusitis, and COVID-19 .
A person can experience a cold when exposed to substances that trigger allergies, such as dust , animal fur, or flower pollen. This condition is also called allergic rhinitis .
3. Exposure to cold or dry air
Cold and dry air can change the fluid balance in the nasal passages. The condition triggers the nervous system in the nose to release fluid.
4. Consumption of spicy food
Colds can be triggered by the consumption of spicy food, for example food seasoned with chili, onion, or black pepper.
5. Side effects of drugs
Medicines can also cause side effects of colds, such as high blood pressure medicine, birth control pills, seizure medicine, and heart disease medicine.
6. Hormonal imbalance
Colds can also occur as a result of hormonal imbalance, for example during pregnancy.
A cold is a symptom of a condition or disease. In some cases, a cold can be accompanied by some of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- The body feels tired
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Mucus dripping down the throat ( postnasal drip )
Keep in mind, colds are not contagious. However, a cold can be a symptom of an infectious disease, such as a cold (cold).
When should you go to the doctor?
Colds generally heal on their own. Even so, immediately seek the help of a doctor if you experience the symptoms below, because it could be a sign of a more serious condition:
- Greenish or bloody mucus comes out, and is accompanied by a bad smell
- Mucus coming out with sinus pain
- A cold lasts more than 10 days
- A cold is accompanied by a high fever (temperature of 39°C or more), severe headache, and severe pain in the forehead or face
- Colds are accompanied by the loss of the sense of smell ( anosmia ) and the sense of taste (ageusia)
- A cold is accompanied by shortness of breath
- Nasal mucus coming out due to head injury
You also need to be alert when your baby has a cold. This is because a cold in a baby is a serious disease. Seek medical help immediately if a cold occurs in a baby under 2 months of age, or if a cold causes the baby to have difficulty breathing.
Diagnosis of colds aims to find out the underlying cause. The doctor will first ask the patient about:
- Medical history, such as allergies or immune system diseases
- The use of nasal relievers in the form of sprays
- Other symptoms that accompany a cold
- Exposure of dust or animal fur to the nose
If necessary, the doctor can also use a special tool to see the nose area. The doctor can also use the help of a tube with a camera, to see the entire nasal cavity more clearly.
Colds can be eased by drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest. In addition, sufferers can consume medicines that can be bought without a doctor's prescription to relieve cold symptoms, among others:
- Medicines to relieve nasal congestion, or also called decongestants , both sprayed directly into the nose ( nasal spray ) and drunk
- Antiallergic drugs, such as brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine , dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine , ceritizine, loratadine , fexofenadine, or bilastine
It is important to remember, follow the doctor's instructions in using the medicine above. Avoid using the nasal spray for more than 3 days in a row unless recommended by a doctor.
Complications of Colds
Colds are generally conditions that can improve on their own. However, in some conditions, colds can cause complications in the form of:
Acute ear infection ( otitis media )
Otitis media is an infection in the middle ear due to the entry of bacteria or viruses into the ear.
Cold sufferers who have a history of asthma are at risk of having an asthma attack .
A cold that does not heal can cause inflammation in the sinuses .
enlargement Adenoid enlargement can occur as a result of a viral infection in the nose, throat, or sinuses.
Disruption of sleep quality
Nasal passages that are blocked due to a cold have the potential to disrupt the sleep quality of the sufferer.
Colds can be prevented by keeping the body clean and avoiding substances that trigger allergies, including by doing the following steps:
- Wash your hands regularly to avoid germs
- Avoiding contact with people who have a cold or fever
- Use a tissue when removing mucus from the nose and wash your hands afterwards
- Consume balanced nutritious food and exercise regularly to strengthen the body's resistance
- Wearing a mask to avoid substances that can trigger allergies, such as dust or pollen
- Quit smoking to prevent irritation and inflammation of the nasal cavity
- Cleaning furniture, doorknobs, handrails, and other tools that are often touched at home, using a disinfectant solution
- Routinely get the flu vaccine every year