Common COLD (Catarrh); Causes, signs, management and prevention


Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease is an acute, mild viral and highly communicable disease or infection of the upper respiratory tract. It is characterized by inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, pharynx and the accessory sinuses. Other names for common cold are nasal catarrh, coryza, rhinitis and acute nasopharyngitis. It is rarely serious medically but socially and economically, it interrupts daily life activities.

Incubation period: 24-72hrs (1 -3days)

Mode of spread: through droplets.

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Kissing


  • Rhinoviruses
  • Corona viruses
  • Entero viruses
  • Adenoviruses etc.

Predisposing factors

  • Cold weather (chilly weather).
  • Emotional upset or stress.
  • Exposure to irritating gases.
  • Allergies (dust, pollen grains).
  • Poor nutrition.

Clinical manifestation

Photo from Penn Medicine

  1. Nasal blockage or obstruction
  2. Cough
  3. Chills
  4. Fever
  5. Headache
  6. Sore throat
  7. Sneezing
  8. Hoarseness of voice
  9. The sense of smell impaired
  10. There is loss of appetite


When an individual is exposed to any of these viruses, there is inflammation of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract after the invasion of the causative organism. Irritation and the inflammatory process result in sneezing, cough and hoarseness of voice. Increase secretion of mucus interferes with the functions of the cilia. Stimulation of the parasympathetic system dilates the blood vessel. This stimulation varies spontaneously over several hours from one nostril to the other.


There is no specific treatment is available

  • Symptomatic treatment such as;
    • Analgesic for headache.
    • Ephedrine nasal drops to constrict the oozing nasal surfaces.
    • Cough expectorants or suppressants to relieve cough.
  • Antibiotics as prophylactic for secondary bacterial infection.
  • Vitamin supplement e.g. vitamin C.

Nursing Care

Infection control measures such as;

  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Use of handkerchief when sneezing/coughing.
  • Bed rest is important to prevent further complications.
  • Adequate nutrition (a balanced diet with a lot of fruits).


  • Good nutrition.
  • Avoid predisposing factors with infected persons.
  • Personal hygiene.
  • Environmental cleanliness.
  • Patient education

Differences between Corona Virus, C.O.L.D, and Flu

Photo by Growing Life


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