Common cold

A sneeze is an expulsion of air from the nose and mouth. This air can reach speeds of more than 100 mph propelled from 2 - 12 feet and contains five thousand bacteria-filled droplets.

Medical science has stopped the spread of many infectious diseases around the world but has yet to find a cure for the common cold. There are 200 plus viruses that cause a cold, which affects the lining of your nose and other passages leading to your lungs. The classic signs start with a scratchy throat, a runny or stuffy nose, then you begin to sneeze and you may have a cough.

Ah-choo! : the uncommon life of your common cold
Jennifer Ackerman.
New York : Twelve, 2010.
A quarter of the people infected with a cold virus don't get sick. What's so different about these folks?
The good doctor's guide to colds and flu
Neil Schachter.
New York : Collins, 2005.
From everyday colds to SARS to bird flu, an eminent Mount Sinai lung specialist provides the latest and most effective information on treating and preventing respiratory infections, including colds, flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia.
The germ freak's guide to outwitting colds and flu: guerilla tactics to keep yourself healthy at home, at work, and in the world
Allison Janse with Charles Gerba.
Deerfield Beach, Fla. : Health Communications, c2005.
Just in time for cold and flu season comes this fun, funny and imminently practical guide to the fine art of germ avoidance. Admit it, you either are one or you know one: a person who prefers the scent of Purell to perfume, hates public restroom toilets and pushes elevator buttons with their elbow. In a word (well, two), a Germ Freak. Well guess whattheyre right! In the bestselling tradition of the The Paranoid's Pocket Guide and The Worst Case Scenario Handbook, Allison Jansea committed Germ Freakgives readers the lowdown on how to avoid the common cold and survive flu season with your health and sanity intact. This is the practical information your doctor wont give you (they always say not to worry and may be giving you the latest bug by not washing their hands when they examine you!), but which youre almost literally dying to know, such as: How clean is my office desk? (In terms of germs, its better to eat off a toilet seat) Do I have to shake that snotty persons hand? (The new etiquette says no) Are my hygiene products killing me? (No, but some increase your risk of illness) How do I get out of a public restroom without contamination? (Heres a five-step plan) What is the best way to wash my hands? (You have two detailed options) Am I the only germ freak in America? (Dont worry, 48% of women either use the toilet guard or make their own) Why didnt anyone tell me about The New Respiratory Etiquette? (Yes, its real, and its specifically designed for Germ Freaks just like you) Germ Freaks unite! This book will help unenlightened germspreaders get a clueor at least a HandiWipeand prove to the world that, in the end, its far better to be safe than sorry. Are You a Germfreak? Some Ways to Tell Your exit strategy from a public bathroom rivals an NFL playbook Your family and friends think Purell is your scent You check elevator riders for anyone who is sniffling and opt for the stairs even though you're going to the Penthouse You turn all public bathroom faucets with a piece of tissue You avoid buffets that dont have 10-foot-high GermGuard barriers You think BYOB means bring your own bathroom hand towels You only go to afternoon (or really bad) movies because theyre less crowded If you answered yes to any one of these questions, you're on your way to becoming a Germ freak. If you answered yes to two or more, congratulations, you're a full-fledged freak.

The common cold is spread mostly by person-to-person contact. Meaning if you touched something that has been touched by an infected person, then rub your nose, you have transferred the virus from the object you touched to your self. The cold virus can be acquired from such objects as pens, books, and doorknobs and can live on them for several hours.

Hand washing has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of spreading cold viruses. Wash your hands frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. Or use an instant hand sanitizer that uses alcohol to destroy germs without any soap or water.

The flu has similar symptoms to the cold but the flu...

Comes on suddenly
Aches and pain
Can last for 10 days
There is a vaccine

Cold versus Flu

Although there is no cure for the common cold there are ways to relieve your symptoms. First get some rest and drink plenty of fluids. Drinking hot liquids can soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus through your nasal passage faster. Grandmotherís chicken soup rates the best.

When considering over-the-counter medicines read and thoroughly understand the information on the package. Look for products that target to your symptoms. These won't actually shorten the length of a cold, but can help you feel better. Meanwhile, get some rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff