Sunday, August 30, 2009
I’ve been doing a bit of sneezing, which is a symptom of the common cold, and sure enough, I have the other symptoms: sore throat, runny nose, hoarse voice, cough, headache and muzzy head. In addition to these I’ve been lethargic, and generally feel rundown. On the positive side, I know that I’m likely to suffer this cold for only a period of seven days, and exceptionally up to a maximum of two weeks. Such a response is normal for adults who are infected with this irritating, mildly pernicious virus. Fortunately, our immune systems produce antibodies that effectively destroy the invasive viruses. Exceptionally, some people, due to certain medical conditions, develop complications leading to bronchitis, pneumonia etc..
Where did I pick up my unwanted infection? For sure, the virus entered my nasal cavities or my eye ducts, before making its way by means of ciliary action to the adenoid area at the back of my throat, where conditions were right for multiplying the minute, but insidious invaders. These are clever little creatures, of which there are about 100 basic types, all capable of mutating. They can set up base camp within 8-12 hours and establish territory guaranteeing an effective contagion and a full-blown cold within 36-72 hours. They love swimming around in nasal fluid where they are strategically positioned for being transferred to another host by means of a sneeze. A nearby person may unsuspectingly breathe in the dispersed viruses. Furthermore, any cold viruses deposited by sneezing, or by tactile means, onto receptive surfaces such as door handles, cash machine keypads, supermarket trolley handles, etc., have the ability to remain infectious for up to 3 hours. Therefore the importance of using tissues for minimising the dispersal of sneezed cold viruses and the washing of hands can’t be emphasized enough. Take care not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth to avoid tactile transference of the virus.
Places where people congregate such as supermarkets, schools, colleges, offices, buses, trains or planes are where viral infections are most likely to be transmitted. If we take our responsibilities seriously, we should avoid such places if at all possible, when there’s a chance we could pass on our cold.