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Life cycle of common cold

  • Posted on- Aug 14, 2015
  • 2213 Views

The virus causing common cold is known as rhinovirus. Cold can also be caused due to other viruses like human para-influenza virus, coronavirus, human respiratory syncytial virus, etc. The rhinovirus is known to mutate very fast, hence, people contract cold multiple times in a year. The specialty of this virus is that it is able to sustain itself even without a host for a very long period of time. The life cycle of common cold starts with the virus attaching itself to a living cell, it itself replicates, after which it meets its end and so does the cell it attaches itself to. However, there are thousands of viruses, that waiting to latch onto a living cell and the cycle continues.

Common cold life cycle

Common cold is contagious and spreads from an infected person to another person. When an infected person sneezes, a number of viruses are expelled into the air. The droplets released as a result of sneezing are present in the air for hours on end, of which some part evaporates and smaller and invisible droplets circulate in the air. A person may come in contact with the droplets, if the person sneezes in front or also through hand contact. If a person happens to touch a surface, where the virus is already present, then the person can get infected with cold. The most common areas where the virus may be present are areas of common usage, like the door knobs, water taps, etc.

When the virus enters the system of a person, it attaches itself to a living cell present in the person. Then the virus makes its way inside the cell, where the infection starts. The common cold incubation period is anywhere between one to three days. In the incubation period the person will not see any signs or symptoms of common cold. From the infected cells, new viruses are produced. After which the cell along with the virus dies and ruptures and in the process releases more virus into the system, which attach themselves to other cells and the entire process is repeated all over again.

One of the facts about common cold is that the virus can infect another person about one day before the symptoms are visible and for the next five days of the infection. It is important to note that although the major entry point for the virus is the nose, the virus can also make an entry through the eyes as well. Therefore, it is important to wash hands carefully to avoid the infection from spreading. When the virus makes its way to the nasal-pharynx region is grows rapidly and the infection spreads further.

Remedies for common cold

The most important remedy for common cold is to consume a lot of liquids. They help in draining the mucus, which in turn helps in curing the infection. Drinking herbal teas also helps in getting rid of the infection. Consuming ginger, when one has contracted cold proves beneficial. It is best to stay in a warm and humid environment. Gargling with hot water with salt in it helps in getting rid of soreness in the throat. Taking steam a couple of times a day is helpful in treating common cold.

From the life cycle of common cold, we can decode that one can't do much to relieve the condition. In most cases, it takes its own natural course and goes away on its own. Therefore, the best is to prevent the condition itself. However, if the condition refuses to improve, then you may want to consult your ENT doctor to find out the exact cause of the cold. The cold may be caused due to virus other than rhinovirus.