Viral upper respiratory tract infection (VURT) is better known by the phrase “the common cold”, which is especially apt because of the prevalence and frequency with which the common cold is experienced. But while most adult individuals experience having the common cold at least twice a year and children at the rate of at least six times a year, what the common cold is and how it affects our bodies is not really understood by many.
The common cold is essentially an infection, which is caused by a number of different viruses. Once you are exposed to an individual carrying this virus, and have contact with the objects that they touched, or breathe in the invisible viral droplets they release into the air, the virus will start to enter your body.
Development of Symptoms
Once the virus is effectively transmitted to your body, the virus will replicate and the symptoms of the common cold will manifest from any period ranging from ten hours to five days. During this period, the effects of the common cold will not manifest itself in your body yet.
The most severe effects of the common cold virus will manifest on the second or third day of its incubation in your body. The period and degree with which the common cold symptoms are experienced by the body depend on how well your immune system is functioning at the time of the infection. Some may experience the effects of the common cold on their body for a week, while others may have to deal with it for two to three weeks.
Common Symptoms and Effects Experienced
Once you are infected with the common cold, you may experience a further weakening of your immune system. This makes you susceptible to even more diseases such as pneumonia, influenza, sinusitis, bronchitis, hypothermia, strep throat and otitis media.
The effects described above however are for more severe or advanced cases of infection, but generally, these are the symptoms that you will experience at the onset of your cold: an itchy throat, watery eyes and a feeling of being ill or weak.
As the infection develops, you may experience having a runny nose, where the discharge is initially very watery and eventually may become thicker, more sneezing, coughing, and having headaches from time to time.
“Common Cold – Respiratory Disorders.” BBC . N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/commoncold.shtml
“Common Cold Transmission .” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Home Page . N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/com
Hamilton, Patsy. “Facts About the Common Cold Incubation Period.” HealthGuidance. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. www.healthguidance.org/entry/6125/1/Facts-about-the-Common-Cold-Incubation-Period.html.
Heikkinen, Terho , and Asko Järvinen. “The Common Cold.”The Lancet Vol 361 (2003): 51-59. The Lancet. Web. 10 Nov. 2010.
“OSH Answers: Common Cold.” CCOHS: Canada’s National Centre for Occupational Health and Safety information. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2010. http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/