Coughing is globally prevalent, and most people experience cough and cold for various reasons including fever, allergy, or a change in weather. A common cold, also known as a viral cold, is an upper respiratory infection that is caused by a virus. A viral infection of the upper respiratory tract is what is referred to as a common cold. The Rhinovirus is responsible for almost half of the prevalent colds. When a virus infects the body and overcomes the immune system, an infection results triggering cold symptoms that include clogged nose, cough, body pains, low-grade fever, headache sneezing, and sore throat. The cold & cough types of flues can be caused by more than 200 different viruses.
The way a cold & cough feels, and sounds can determine the cause and possible remedies.
Here is an overview of common forms of cold & cough infection, their treatments, and indications for seeking medical attention.
Common cold: A virus causes the common cold, an upper respiratory, which is contagious. There are more than 200 viruses that can cause most types of cold and cough. Although it is possible to develop a cold & cough at any time of the year, they are more prevalent during the winter. This is because the majority of viruses that cause colds flourish in low humidity. Virus-filled droplets are released into the air when a sick person sneezes or coughs, allowing the illness to spread. If you contact a surface recently touched by an infected person and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes, you may become ill.
Flu: Influenza, also known as the flu, is another upper respiratory ailment. Unlike the common cold, which may occur at any time of year, the flu is often seasonal or associated with weather changes. The flu can be contracted in the same manner as most types of cold and cough–with droplets dispersed by an infected individual. A day before the onset of symptoms and up to one week following, you are contagious and experience symptoms like cold, flue and headaches. Influenza virus strains change from year to year. In contrast to the ordinary cold, influenza can progress to more dangerous conditions such as pneumonia.
Wet cough: A wet cough is when a person coughs up phlegm or mucous. Its initial symptoms are similar to most types of cold and cough. Usually, an illness like the flu, a cold & cough, or a chest infection is to blame for wet coughs. Little quantities of bright red blood may be present in the phlegm that is coughed up by someone who has a chest infection. This blood is from the lungs and is usually not a cause for concern. One should seek medical attention if they start to cough up blood that is black, contains food, or looks like coffee grounds.
Some persistent wet coughs might result from:
- Bronchiectasis: A disorder where mucus builds up in tiny pouches in the lungs and the body cannot expel it.
- Pneumonia: The condition is a bacterial illness that results in the inflammation of lung tissue.
- Non-tuberculous mycobacteria infection: This is not infectious and may cause fatigue, ill feelings, and weight loss.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): The lung condition is characterised by wheezing and shortness of breath as frequent symptoms.
Treatment: A wet cough, like most types of cold and cough, may be kept under control with warm water infused with turmeric, and the symptoms of a cold & cough can be lessened with regular steam inhalation and over-the-counter medicines including cough drops, chest massages, and painkillers. Some may require antibiotics if they have a bacterial infection that is causing their cough.
Dry Cough: An individual may have a dry cough after a respiratory infection. Dry coughs are a typical side effect of respiratory infections like the flu and the common cold & cough. When there is little to no mucus in the throat, these coughs start to appear. A person could experience a tickle in their throat and find it difficult to quit coughing. The cough often disappears on its own, yet, if a cough persists, you may look into other underlying causes including:
- Asthma: Additional signs and symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: The condition occurs when stomach acid rises into the throat, causing a cough to develop.
Treatment: Drinking warm water infused with turmeric, cough drops, or using cough syrup can help someone who has a dry cough stop feeling itchy. Blood in the mucus may also be present together with a cough that is associated with lung cancer, though rare. Like with all types of cold and cough, if the symptoms continue beyond a week, it is pragmatic to consult a doctor.
Coughing fit: Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial condition that is very infectious. A whooping cough patient often exhibits mild cold- or flu-like symptoms before beginning to cough violently and painfully. Babies and other people with weakened immune systems may find it difficult to combat the illness or experience breathing difficulties. Within the first two weeks of the cold & cough infection, those who have this virus are most prone to spread it to others.
Treatment: Individuals should seek medical attention right away if they have symptoms of whooping cough since early antibiotic treatment can lessen the severity of the condition.
Persistent Cough: A cough that lasts longer than the average sickness, often 8 weeks or more, is referred to be chronic. These coughs might occasionally be an early indicator of an illness. For an appropriate diagnosis and course of therapy, a patient should visit a doctor.
A persistent cough may have many reasons, such as:
- Lung Irritants: Smoking, exposure to irritants such mould or dust at home or work, allergies, untreated infections, or respiratory viruses that linger longer than normal, pneumonia or another lung illness, throat, or oral cancer
- Medical history: Swallowing issues brought on by dementia and other diseases
The vast majority of human influenza cases are clinically diagnosed. However, during low influenza activity and outside of epidemic situations, other respiratory viruses including parainfluenza, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenovirus can also appear as influenza-like illness, which makes clinical differentiation of influenza from other pathogens challenging. A conclusive diagnosis requires the collection of suitable breath samples and the use of a laboratory diagnostic test. The proper collection, preservation, and transportation of respiratory specimens is the first and most important step in the laboratory detection of influenza virus infections. Direct antigen detection, viral isolation, or determination of the condition by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are popular methods for laboratory confirmation of influenza virus from throat, nasal, and nasopharyngeal secretions.
Cold & Cough Types
What are different types of cold?
There are around 200 distinct viruses that can trigger a cold & cough infection. The rhinovirus is the most frequent, but other prevalent viruses include the coronavirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, enterovirus, and respiratory syncytial viruses can also trigger symptoms of cough & cold. The majority of cold & cough diseases are caused by coronaviruses or rhinoviruses. Rhinoviruses have also been related to sinus and ear infections, as well as asthma episodes. You may feel a tickling in your throat one to three days after contracting a cold virus. Most individuals experience a tickly or painful throat as initial symptoms. Some frequent cold symptoms at this stage include a stuffy nose (nasal congestion) and a runny nose, sneezing, cough, and hoarseness.
How do I know what type of cough I have?
The majority of cold & cough diseases go away without therapy in 3 weeks or less. When a cough is dry, it is itchy and doesn't generate any mucus. The production of phlegm to assist clean your airways is indicated by a chesty cough. You should consult your doctor if your cough produces yellowish-green phlegm, which indicates that you most likely have an infection. Dry or non-productive cough is a cough that doesn't create any mucus. The least dangerous sort of cough is an acute one. It usually goes away on its own and only lasts three weeks or less. If your cough produces blood, you should visit a doctor.
What kind of cough is serious?
Your cold & cough disease is serious if you cough blood, have respiratory issues, chest discomfort, and are experiencing shortness of breath. If you have any more unsettling symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, a persistent change in your voice, or lumps or swellings in your neck, let your doctor know. A hacking cough and cough that produces thick, yellow-grey mucus (phlegm) can be indicative of bronchitis. You must consult your specialists and get started on the treatment at the earliest.
How many types of cold and cough are there?
There are more than 200 viruses that have been identified as common cold & cough disease agents. According to estimates, rhinoviruses are to blame for the majority of adult colds. Infections with the rhinovirus are commonly linked to flare-ups in asthmatics, especially in youngsters. Many different rhinovirus kinds have previously been identified by scientists. Almost half of asthma flare-ups may be caused by rhinoviruses, which are a significant contributor to the common cold.