What is a chronic cold?
Everyone knows a common cold. It usually heals within a few days. However, sometimes a cold can last for a long time. The main risk is if a cold has not been cured properly.
In the case of a chronic cold, the typical symptoms of a cold either persist over a period of several weeks at a time or there are repeated episodes of illness within a very short time after an infection.
A chronic cold can develop especially when an infection has not been completely cured. Sufficient rest is important so that the body can fight the pathogens effectively. Various means such as nasal showers, nasal sprays or inhalations can also have a positive effect on the course of the disease. Usually, however, a cold also heals on its own. In no case should you carry off a cold, so do not take a break despite the infection and take it easy.
In addition to insufficient rest, there are a number of other possible causes of a chronic cold. Smoking irritates the airways. In conjunction with other factors and pathogens, this can lead to a chronic slimy cough.
An allergy can mimic symptoms of a cold and last for a long time. In addition, there can of course be a combination of allergies and colds, which may interfere with healing. In addition to external factors, the activity of the immune system also plays a role in the development of a chronic cold. Weaknesses in the immune system can have many causes. They range from a vitamin deficiency to chronic stress and serious illnesses such as AIDS.
You can find more information on our website: Causes of a cold such as Course of a cold
Stress plays an important role in the development of chronic colds. On the one hand, stress often prevents you from taking the time necessary to completely cure an infection. So it is easy to "drag out" the cold. Due to the lack of rest, the body may no longer be able to fight an infection adequately; it becomes chronic. Prolonged stress affects sleep, the endocrine system, and a number of other things such as diet and activity. All of these things affect the effectiveness of the immune system. In addition, stress has a direct influence on the immune response.
An infection does not always have to be the cause of a chronic cold. An allergy can also cause typical cold symptoms such as a stuffy nose or watery eyes. The body actually recognizes harmless substances from the environment as dangerous and reacts accordingly. An allergy usually lasts as long as the body is exposed to these substances. This means that allergies can last a very long time and be misunderstood as a chronic infection. The diagnosis of an allergy can usually be made with a simple skin test at the doctor's. Coughing is also rather untypical for an allergy.
You may also be interested in this topic: Signs of allergy
Symptoms of a Chronic Cold
Everyone knows the classic cold symptoms. The pathogens penetrate the body and establish themselves. Shortly afterwards the first symptoms appear, which also depend on where the pathogen has settled. Often times, a cold starts with a scratchy throat, a slight cough, or a stuffy nose. The remaining symptoms appear later, such as feeling sick, sore throat, fever or a strong cough.
A chronic cold can be recognized primarily by the duration of the illness. It can last for weeks or even months. The symptoms can be significantly weaker than with an acute cold. The pathogens can also be “spread”. The body does not have the time to kill all pathogens, so the common cold can break out again and again. A series of colds in quick succession can therefore also be regarded as a chronic cold.
A chronic cold should not be taken lightly as it can lead to serious medical conditions such as myocarditis.
Simple measures are often sufficient for treatment. It is important to take sufficient rest in the acute phase of a cold. Normally, the immune system can deal with the pathogens. Drinking a sufficient amount can have a supportive effect. Even if a cold has already become chronic, it is important to take care of the body so that it can fight the pathogens effectively. It also helps to ensure adequate hygiene. Used handkerchiefs should be thrown in the trash immediately and not used several times.
Heat can improve the blood flow to the mucous membranes and thus improve the defense against disease. Especially cold feet should be avoided. Diet should provide you with all the necessary nutrients and vitamins, otherwise the immune system will be weakened. A visit to a doctor is strongly recommended, especially if you have a chronic cold. This is not only important for the treatment of a chronic cold, but also for determining the causes of the disease.
also read: Therapy for a cold such as Inhaling if you have a cold
Homeopathy is highly controversial in medicine for various reasons. The main reason for this is that there has been no clear proof of their effectiveness to date. Their mechanism of action cannot be explained scientifically either. If you want to support your treatment with homeopathic remedies, there are a number of preparations from different manufacturers available. Since the substances contained are normally very dilute, no undesirable effects are to be expected. Nevertheless, self-treatment with homeopathic preparations does not replace a doctor's visit and sufficient rest.
Related topics to read: Home remedies for a cold or Naturopathy for a cold
For a cold to be called chronic, it has to last for several weeks. How long the disease lasts depends on several factors. A chronic cold can have clear reasons, such as an immune deficiency. As long as such a cause persists, the chronic cold can also persist. Especially if a chronic cold is not treated and its causes are not found and combated, the disease can drag on for a very long time.
More on this: Duration of a cold and superinfection
The prognosis for a chronic cold also depends on its causes. Often these are easily preventable things such as excessive stress, lack of sleep, poor hygiene or a lack of important nutrients such as certain vitamins and trace elements. If these causes can be found and remedied, a chronic cold should also heal without consequences.
But serious illnesses such as AIDS or therapies that suppress the immune system can also be the cause of a chronic cold. In this case, the prognosis can be significantly worse. Accurate diagnosis of a chronic cold is therefore important.
The common cold is an infection of the respiratory tract, especially the nasal mucosa and throat are affected. Diagnosis is usually based primarily on typical symptoms. With a normal course, the cold symptoms subside after one to two weeks. A chronic cold can be diagnosed if the illness persists for several weeks. Also possible is a recurring cold over a longer period of time, which can be an indication of an immune deficiency.