The common cold is a frequent ailment affecting both children and adults, with children of early school age particularly susceptible due to their initial exposure to viruses. Upon entering school, children encounter more individuals, making it commonplace to catch a cold periodically. As they mature, their immune systems strengthen, reducing both the frequency and severity of illness.

Causes of the Common Cold

The common cold can be attributed to several viruses, including Rhinovirus, Adenovirus, Coronavirus, Enterovirus, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Exposure to these viruses helps in developing immunity. It's important to note that each cold can be caused by a different type of virus.

Recognising the Symptoms

The symptoms of the common cold can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nasal congestion or a runny nose with clear mucus
  • Sneezing
  • A dry, sore throat
  • Coughing, whether dry or wet

Approaches to Treatment

Viral infections, such as the common cold, cannot be eradicated with medication, so the focus remains on alleviating symptoms. Here are some recommendations:

  • Use medication to reduce fever, if necessary.
  • Drink warm water frequently if coughing.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor if a bacterial infection develops, evidenced by symptoms like yellow or green mucus, an inflamed throat, or ear pain.

Strategies for Prevention

Taking preventative measures can reduce the transmission of the virus. Here are some tips:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep the body warm, especially during weather changes.
  • Avoid crowded places, particularly during a cold epidemic.
  • Avoid bathing in cold water when the weather is chilly.
  • Maintain good health by exercising regularly, consuming a balanced diet, and ensuring adequate rest.


While catching a cold is a common occurrence, especially among school-aged children, understanding its causes, recognising the symptoms, and implementing preventative measures can help manage and potentially reduce the impact of this prevalent ailment.