• Question: Is it true that cold is caused by viruses and that it cannot be cured?

    Asked by 239heaa22 to Dorcas, Jay Oty, Mel, Chapa, Priscilla on 1 Oct 2014.
    • Photo: James Otieno

      James Otieno answered on 1 Oct 2014:

      @ 239heaa22

      I love this question as this is my are of research.

      Yes, it is true that cold (or common cold as it is usually referred to) is caused by viruses. The common causes are Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Rhinovirus and Coronaviruses. It causes many deaths annually, especially in children under 5 years.

      Unfortunately, common cold cannot be cured presently. Most people go for antibiotics hoping that it cures but not so. You know why? Because antibiotics target bacteria but remember common cold is caused by viruses, so they don’t work! What is done is management of the cold and NOT treatment/curing e.g. children who are very sick and their airways blocked can be given oxygen, pain killers to relieve pain and fever, cough syrups to reduce cough, drinking lots of fluids (water, juice). I use hot water with lemons and some honey to help me relieve pain when I have common cold.

      Remember to stop spread of common cold through using a handkerchief/tissue to cover your mouth/nose when you sneeze or cough, wash your hands regularly with soap and water and wipe surfaces to keep away germs.

      What do you do when you have common cold?

    • Photo: Dorcas Kamuya

      Dorcas Kamuya answered on 1 Oct 2014:

      Hi 239heaa22,
      That is a good question, because most people get colds. I agree with James that colds do not have a cure, it’s a viral infection. However, if well managed – this means drinking a a lot liquids such as warm water, and rest, it disappears in about 5-7 days. However, we also get co-infections with cold, that is why we are given the anti-biotic to manage the co-infections. Once given these antibiotics by a qualified doctor, remember to take them as prescribed, even when you feel better. This is important so as to prevent you developing antibiotic resistance.