There may be no known cure for the common cold, but there are ways to avoid it.
The common cold is caused by a virus that affects the nose, lungs, and throat.
According to the Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS), “More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold.”
Cold viruses can be caught in a variety of ways. One way is to touch a surface with the cold germ and then rub the eyes or nose. A cold can also be caught by breathing in the germs from the air.
Colds are most common in young children because they come in contact with each other in school and daycare centers.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Disease (NIAD), children have about six to 10 colds a year.
Gina Oliver, employee at East Jordan’s Dick and Jane’s Daycare Center, said, “We wash our hands a lot, and clean all the toys in a bleach solution. Eating surfaces and anything else the kids come into contact with are sanitized regularly. We also use separate hand rags for each kid.”
Usually, symptoms of the cold begin two to three days after the infection, and can last anywhere from two to 14 days, the department of human services said.
To treat colds, the department recommends resting, drinking lots of fluids, using throat sprays for sore throats and using petroleum jelly for a raw nose.
To prevent the cold altogether, the department has a few recommendations. Not rubbing the eyes or nose, and avoiding contact with people who have a cold is a great start. Covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing is another helpful tip.
The department also recommends trying to cough or sneeze into the elbow. This prevents the germs from spreading from your hands to other surfaces, or to your face.
Gargling with salt water and using medicine such as aspirin or acetaminophen can help with some of the symptoms. Over the counter drugs can also be used.
However, the National Institute of Allergy and Disease said over the counter drugs often contain suppressants, and decongestants. They can cause fatigue and drowsiness. These drugs should be taken with care.
The institute also noted that taking antibiotics ‘just in case’ will not kill the virus, and will not prevent bacterial infections.
Katie Flynn, employee at Hilltop Preschool and Child Care in Petoskey, said, “We have our kids wash their hands regularly, and we use lots of hand sanitizer.”
Flynn added, “In state licensed daycares, children are not allowed to come if they are running a temperature, because that is when they are most likely to spread the infection.”
Oliver said when kids are sick, they should be kept home.
“We won’t allow any child who is coughing or sneezing a lot to come to daycare. The best way to prevent spreading a cold is to keep sick kids home,” Oliver added.