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What is a cold?

Answered by Dr Ellie Cannon
8th September 2015
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A cold is a mild viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways). The virus targets the lining of the nose and throat and causes them to become inflamed. This triggers the production of mucus, causing a runny nose and sneezing.

There are over 200 types of viruses that can cause a cold.

Because a cold is caused by a viral infection, antibiotics (which are only effective against bacteria) don’t do any good. Medicines can be used to ease the symptoms, but the body gets rid of a cold on it’s own.

 

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