Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

As the cold and flu season takes its grip, the incessant coughing and sneezing become unavoidable. Viral infections, culprits behind the common cold and flu, spread through direct contact, touching contaminated surfaces, and exposure to infected individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the disruptive impact of common colds on school attendance and work productivity.

Winter Viruses are Common Culprits:

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV):

A frequent cause of respiratory tract infections in infants and young children.

Symptoms mimic a common cold but can escalate to severe infections.

Manifestations include a runny nose, persistent cough, noisy breathing, and occasional low-grade fever.

Influenza Virus:

Causes influenza or “the flu” and can also lead to uncomplicated cold symptoms.

Yearly influenza vaccination is a preventive measure.

Influenza A, B, and C types exist, with influenza A being predominant.

Common Cold:

Presents with a runny nose, fever, and cough in both children and adults.

Typically lasts about a week, accompanied by clear or colored nasal discharge.

Mild fatigue or general malaise may accompany a cold.


RSV is a common cause, especially in younger children.

Inflammation of the lungs’ inner lining results in swelling, increased mucus production, and potential breathing difficulties.

Watch for signs like rapid breathing, weak cry, and bluish lips or nails.


Viral infection below the voice box causing cold-like symptoms.

Progresses to a distinctive cough, difficult breathing, and a barky or seal-like sound.

Initial symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, and fever.

Effects of Cold Air:

Cold air hampers nasal defense mechanisms, allowing viruses to linger.

Nasal cavity’s mucus, cilia, and stomach acids collectively work to neutralize microbes.

Lower temperatures slow down mucus clearance, prolonging virus exposure.

Prevention Strategies:

Regular handwashing, avoiding face touching, and steering clear of infected individuals.

Annual flu vaccination is a highly recommended preventive measure.

Vigilant cleaning of commonly touched surfaces to curb infection spread.

Home Remedies for Symptom Relief:


Anti-viral, antibiotic, and antiseptic properties.


Effective for coughs, maintaining open respiratory passages.


Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial for cold and flu symptoms.


Antibacterial and antiseptic; not suitable for children under one year.


Rich in vitamin C, aids in reducing cold and flu virus strength.

Coconut Oil:

High in lauric acid, supports the immune system.

Cod Liver Oil:

Omega-3s reduce inflammation, vitamins A and D boost immune health.

Warm Liquids:

Homemade broths, hot lemon water, and herbal teas provide immune support.

Nasal Wash:

Rinsing nasal passages with filtered water aids in clearing excess phlegm and combating infections.

Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo Physician & Diabetologist/Columnist Member, Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India(RSSDI)

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