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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Colds: Prevention & Expectations
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)


Alternate Names : Upper Respiratory Infection, URI, Common COLD, Viral Pharyngitis, Viral URI

Colds | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the infection?

Good hand washing is the best way to avoid spreading colds from person to person. There are many measures that can help you avoid catching a cold. To reduce the spread of colds, a person with a cold should:

  • cover his or her mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing or coughing, and then discard the tissue
  • avoid touching his or her eyes, nose, or mouth
  • wash his or her hands frequently, and especially after coughing or sneezing
  • Healthy individuals should:

  • avoid close contact with a person who has a cold
  • try not to handle objects touched by a person with a cold
  • wash their hands frequently
  • There is some evidence that vitamin C may help prevent and decrease the severity of colds. Zinc may also help prevent colds and reduce the severity of colds.

    What are the long-term effects of the infection?

    Most colds resolve within 7 to 10 days. Some people will develop complications, such as a sinus infection, ear infection, or long-term cough. People who have breathing difficulties or lung conditions, such as asthma, are more likely to develop complications.

    What are the risks to others?

    Most colds are highly contagious. They are transmitted through respiratory secretions. Sneezing and coughing can spread these droplets. The germ can also be passed on when an individual touches his or her nose and then handles an object that another person later touches. The second person can then pick up the germ from the object and transfer it into his or her own respiratory tract by bringing the hand to the face.

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    Colds: Diagnosis & Tests


    Colds: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: James Broomfield, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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