Causes of the Common Cold

While more than 200 different viruses are known to cause colds, rhinovirus accounts for approximately 30-35% of all colds among adults.1 To date, more than 100 different types of rhinovirus have been identified.1 Since rhinoviruses are most active in early fall, spring, and summer, it’s no surprise that most cold infections in the United States occur between the months of September and April. Other common cold viruses include coronavirus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus.2

Although colds are most common in the winter or rainy seasons, they are not caused by cold weather and they can happen at any time of the year. Cold viruses can spread in two ways:

  1. Through tiny air droplets when a person with a cold coughs, sneezes or blows their nose
  2. Through direct contact with a surface that has been contaminated with virus particles (cold germs)

You may be more prone to colds in the winter because you spend more time indoors in close proximity to others who are sick, but there is no evidence that your chances of getting a cold are related to exposure to cold or wet weather. However, there are some factors, such as extreme fatigue, stress and allergies, that may make you more likely to catch a cold.

Treating the Common Cold

There is no cure for the common cold, and there are no vaccines for preventing colds. If you have a cold, get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Using a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer may help to soothe cough symptoms. Over-the-counter medicines may help to provide relief of cold symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, and congestion. Before using these medicines, make sure to read label and use the medications only as directed. If your child has a cold, talk to your doctor before giving your child any non-prescription cold medicines, since some may contain ingredients that are not recommended for children.3

Antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections, are not necessary for cold treatment. In fact, taking antibiotics when they are not needed contributes to the development of resistant bacteria and may make it harder for your body to fight bacterial infections in the future.3

Using Zicam® to Shorten Your Cold

There are also homeopathic medicines that help to decrease the duration of a cold. The proprietary formulations in Zicam® Cold Remedy RapidMelts®, ULTRA RapidMelts®, Oral Mist™ and Cold Remedy Nasal Spray shortens colds when taken at the first sign, so you get better faster

  1. MedlinePlus. Common Cold. Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000678.htm. Accessed July 14, 2014.
  2. WebMD. Cold, Flu & Cough Health Center – Causes of the Common Cold. Available at http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/common_cold_causes. Accessed July 15, 2014.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptom Relief. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/symptom-relief.html. Accessed July 17, 2014.

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