What's Going Around

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It's that unfortunate time of year when everyone seems to be sick with the common cold.

Cold season begins around late September to April. The average adult will suffer from two to three colds a year, but according to Dr. John Wycoff, kids are the ones hit the hardest during cold season.

"Kids will have six to eight colds a year, mainly because they're around other sick kids and don't practice the best hygiene," said Dr. Wycoff.

There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold, and there's not one drug or vaccine to protect us. If you're trying to pick and over the counter medication to treat your symptoms and are a little overwhelmed, one pharmacist says you need to be specific as to which symptoms are giving you the most problems.

"Is the stuffy nose, inability to sleep, coughing? There are many medications out there that can treat any symptom," said Jim Waun, Sparrow Pharmacy Plus.

While some people turn to herbal remedies as well, doctors say the best way to protect yourself is to always wash your hands, especially if you're an adult caring for a sick child.

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Cold Causing Facts

  • Spending time inside where the cold virus is easily spread
  • Low humidity (dry air)
  • Psychological stress
  • Allergic disorders affecting your nose or throat
  • Menstrual cycles

Cold Causing Myths

  • Cold weather
  • Sudden weather changes
  • Getting chilled
  • Becoming overheated
  • Exercising in the cold
  • Having enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Going outside with a wet head
  • Cold feet

      What is it?

      • A cold is a viral infection caused by viruses known as rhinoviruses
      • The rhinovirus is a microscopic organism that invades the mucus cells of the nose.
      • As viruses are essentially genetic, this entails that they can also mutate.
      • There are now about 250 known rhinoviruses in the community, which means that there are about 250 colds flying around for you to catch.

      What are the current treatments?

      • From the early warning of the wet runny nose phase, immediate isolation must be sought.
      • All you can do is stock up on medicines that will only alleviate the symptoms caused by the irrevocable army of viral invasion.
      • Frequent hand washing is also an essential part of combating the contracting of cold viruses.

      Source: www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/cold.htm National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and National Institutes of Health Web site) contributed to this report.