Understand Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Common Cold

As a specialist Pulmonologist in Kolkata, I treat the common cold or viral lung infection on a daily basis among all age groups. Common cold can be due to more than 200 kinds of viruses. So, there is no special or preventive vaccination against cold. It is, in fact, normal to catch a cold as the germs spread through sneezing, coughing and hand contact. It can last for a few days or weeks. It does not just go away.

Usually patients can carry on with daily activities. If children are active despite the common cold or cough, they do not need bed rest. Also, do remember that you do not catch a cold because of cold weather.

Indications of Common Cough and Cold

You will know you have been infected by the common cold virus by the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Blocked nose
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • Swelling of lymph glands
  • Loss of appetite.
Treatment of Common Cold

My experience in specialised treatment of chest diseases has made me one of those few Indian lung doctors who do not believe in over-prescribing antibiotics. This usually causes more harm than good in the long run.

I usually treat common cold with paracetamols only. I avoid prescribing aspirins (especially to children) and antibiotics as much as possible. Cough syrups normally do not have any effect. Using saline nasal sprays and drinking lots of fluids, especially warm drinks can help relieve the symptoms to a certain extent.

However, if the cold and cough persists and the fever does not respond to paracetamol within 48 hours, then you will need to visit me for specialized lung treatment. Other reasons for checking with a lung specialist can be if the child or adult:

  • Is not drinking liquids
  • Is vomiting recurrently
  • Has severe headache
  • Is lethargic
  • Is looking pale and
  • Is breathless.

In case your cough becomes irritating and chronic, then I will need to check you for specific respiratory problems.

** This site is for patient information only **