The term “cold” is not a medical term, but it is so often used that it requires more careful consideration. Usually, when talking about a cold, the patient associates his disease with hypothermia, the more so, the peak of the disease occurs during the cold season. However, hypothermia is only a trigger, a reason for the weakening of the immune system and the development of the disease. Against the background of physical stress, there is an accession of bacterial or viral infection.

Colds can be caused both by viruses (in these cases, we talk about acute respiratory infections) and bacteria.
The combined effect of these microorganisms is also possible, when against a background of weakened immunity due to a viral infection, the active reproduction of bacterial flora begins. In some cases this drug is used:

Causes of colds

At the heart of colds is always a decrease in immune status, or more precisely, the lack of immune defense cells in the place of accumulation of pathogens. This occurs due to vasospasm under the influence of cold and impaired circulation. Blood cells responsible for the capture and destruction of microorganisms do not reach the mucous membrane, where there are always opportunistic microorganisms and where viruses are the first to penetrate. As a result, their active multiplication begins, causing human illness.
Often there is a co-infection, when the violation of the barrier function of the mucous membranes due to a viral disease leads to the reproduction of opportunistic bacteria, which always live there in small numbers.
In addition, hypothermia, which the body perceives as stress, leads to activation of the herpes virus. This virus is found in almost all adults, but with good immunity, it “freezes” in the nerve cells and does not manifest itself. When the immune system is weakened under the influence of various stress factors (including cold), the virus becomes active and moves along the nerve pathways to the skin surface, causing a rash on the lips, nose, etc.

Classification of diseases

Colds can be divided into viral (acute rhinosinusitis – inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose and its accessory sinuses, herpes infection) and bacterial (acute bacterial rhinosinusitis, acute rhinopharyngitis – inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose and tonsils; angina, also called pharyngitis). Acute viral respiratory diseases can be caused by influenza or parainfluenza viruses, as well as adeno-, rhino- and coronaviruses.

The development of viral infections is promoted not only by hypothermia, but also by being in close groups (schools, kindergartens, public transport), age (children, the elderly).

Acute respiratory bacterial infections are caused by conditionally pathogenic pneumotropic microorganisms, which often colonize the mucous membranes, but do not develop in large numbers due to immune protection. Among them, streptococci, staphylococci, chlamydia and mycoplasmas predominate, the carriage (presence normally in a healthy body) of which ranges from 5% (mycoplasmas) to 90% (staphylococci). Acute respiratory bacterial infections are usually accompanied by less pronounced symptoms of intoxication, and the temperature usually does not exceed 38°C.
When a bacterial infection joins a viral infection, the acute form of the disease with the predominance of catarrhal phenomena is replaced by a chronic form, which may last a long time, leading to the development of complications.
Symptoms of colds

Acute viral respiratory diseases caused by rhino-, corona- or adenoviruses, as well as influenza and parainfluenza viruses are always manifested by a sudden and sharp start, a deterioration in the general condition (fever, intoxication, headache, joint pains, muscle pain, stuffy nose, farting and throat redness without plaque and film formation.
Cough in viral infections appears in 20% of cases and is acute, but benign. It disappears within 10-14 days, but sometimes it can last longer – up to 2-3 weeks, in these cases it is called post-infectious.
Dry and non-productive cough during acute respiratory infections is caused either by inflammatory changes in the mucous membrane of the upper airways, or by its irritation due to nasopharyngeal secretion flowing out.

A cold due to a bacterial infection usually develops more slowly. It may not be accompanied by high fever and significant intoxication.
With a sore throat, there is not only redness of the mucous membranes, but also a plaque, the color and consistency of which depend on the bacterial agent.
Nasal secretions take on a greenish hue and a stringy consistency. Viscous sputum appears when you cough. Symptoms of inflammation caused by bacterial infection can manifest not only in the respiratory tract. By migrating through the circulatory system, bacteria can affect the heart, joints, kidneys, and other organs with the development of appropriate symptoms.

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