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Stages of a Cold

Stages of a Cold

Have you ever wondered what the stages of a cold, an infection that affects absolutely everyone, are? This HealthHearty article will discuss the stages of a common cold.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Three reasons why I hate being sick: I can't smell anything. I can't taste anything. I have to keep blowing my nose! ― Unknown

The aforementioned is a common sound one hears, especially when the fall comes to an end and the winter approaches. A majority of common colds develop in dry, cool weather, unless of course, it is a summer cold. All of us are well aware of the signs and symptoms of the annoying common cold, and there's not much we do except hope that it leaves as soon as possible.
Be it an infant or a very old person, nobody is spared suffering from the common cold. We do have an idea of some of the quickest remedies to get rid of it, but how many of us know the development stages of this sniffling condition? The following sections of this article will help you understand the different phases of an illness that never fails to make you feel miserable.
How It Develops
Stage 1
▶ The first and foremost step in this process is catching a cold. There are over 200 viruses that can cause an infection. These viruses spread through hand-to-hand contact, inhalation of airborne infected nasal droplets containing the virus, or spread through the use of common objects.

It is very important to keep washing your hands often during a cold infection, and blow your nose only in a handkerchief or tissue. Your hands touch hundreds of different objects, and the cold and flu viruses definitely get transferred from your hands onto the things you touch. When someone else comes over and touches the same object, the virus gets transferred to the other person too. A cold virus can survive outside the body for 2 hours on objects it is transferred on.
Stage 2
▶ Once the virus enters the nose and gets past the army of tiny hair lining the nose, the germs begin causing an infection. After the incubation period, one will begin to observe the symptoms of this condition. The initial symptoms tend to differ in every individual, but the general signs observed during the initial stages of development of a cold are-
  • Scratchy throat
  • Headache
  • Mucus buildup in the sinuses
  • Nose congestion
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sneezing
  • Irritation within the nose
▶ One will experience a watery discharge within a few hours of the first stages of the development. Slowly, as the stages progress, one may experience cough, postnasal drip, burning eyes, muscle aches, loss of appetite. Then, one will experience a full-blown infection as the sneezing and congestion in the nose increases. One may also suffer from fever, body pain, and increased respiratory congestion.
Stage 3
▶ Many people wonder how long a cold actually lasts. The stages of a cold last for about 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the immunity level of the individual. In children, accompanying fever is more than 100°F. Adults tend to suffer from fever that is over 102°F. One should ensure that care is taken, as high temperatures can lead to dehydration.
Stage 4
▶ A patient of the common cold generally requires complete rest as treatment. Avoid going to crowded areas during the time, as it is contagious. For best treatment options for both children and adults, consulting a doctor is recommended. Alternatively, you can try some home remedies too.
There is no permanent cure for this infection, as viruses keep undergoing mutations. The minute you experience the initial stages of this infection developing, start taking some health precautions. It would actually be the best time for trying your chicken soup recipe!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.