Every year when the cold comes again, thousands of people make the same fatal mistake: They do not take enough time to properly cure the disease. A cold, a sore throat and a little cough aren’t that bad – are they? Anyone who acts so recklessly can assume that at some point this will have more serious health consequences. Of course, this also applies to angina or an infection – these can even mean that hospital treatment is necessary. We’ll show you why it is so important to cure a cold properly – and how to do it correctly.
Outlook & forecast
If a cold is dragged on, the heart muscle can be permanently damaged. There are disturbances in the heart rhythm that can have lifelong consequences. In the worst case, the affected person is threatened with sudden and premature death due to cardiac arrest.
If, in the further course of a delayed cold, there is also a bacterial infection, the prognosis is unfavorable. The functional activity of the inflamed heart muscle is severely restricted and triggers an undersupply. Organ failure results in death. The risk of pneumonia with a fatal outcome also increases.
Without medical care, the inflammation will spread in the organism and worsen the state of health. With medical treatment and adequate rest, the organs, vessels and muscles regenerate steadily. The organism needs sleep, rest and relaxation so that healing can take place. The defenses can build up in this state and bring new life energy to the person affected. At the same time, the causes of the common cold are killed and transported out of the body.
If a cold is dragged on, the organism is unable to assert itself against the germs due to physical activities and overexertion. The strength is required for the activities. At the same time, the pathogens can multiply continuously and let the existing forces continue to dwindle.
The common cold – what exactly is behind it?
The common cold is some of the most common infectious diseases. Adults fall ill with the flu three times per year on average – children, on the other hand, catch it much more often: Up to ten illnesses per year are not uncommon, which is due to the fact that a child’s immune system does not yet have as strong a resistance as that of an adult.
It is the same with people who have a weak immune system due to their age or other chronic diseases. Around half of all diseases are caused by the so-called rhinovirus. After they have entered the body, the first symptoms appear after about 12 to 24 hours: You feel tired, exhausted and powerless.
After a day or two it starts with a sore throat with difficulty swallowing, which is usually followed by a runny nose that turns into a dry cough with phlegm. This phase can last up to a week, but it gets better every day. On average, the cold is over after ten days. However, if it is for a longer period of time, it may be a delayed cold.
The dragged on cold – what one should know about it
The symptoms of a cold often do not go away as quickly because you are not protecting yourself enough: the body tries to use the strength of the immune system to fight all pathogens as quickly as possible – this weakens and makes you tired. If you then expose yourself to more stress, do intensive sport or otherwise exert yourself physically, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol accordingly.
However, this inhibits the performance of the immune system – and thus the fight against the cold virus is much slower. The result: You suffer from coughs, runny nose and sore throats for longer. It is also important to know that people with a weak immune system in particular are more likely to procrastinate with a cold.
If you take medication regularly, if you are chronically ill in some other way or if you are of advanced age, then it is not uncommon for a cold to be dragged on. This also applies to people who have previously suffered from a respiratory disease or who suffer from asthma.
They generally have rather sensitive airways that react particularly strongly to external stimuli. Thus, they also encourage you to catch cold more quickly than a healthy person with a very strong immune system.
The dragged cold – what are the risks?
The most important thing first: Do not let anyone tell you that a cold does not require special protection – this can have serious health consequences! A cold dragged on can be the trigger for serious illnesses.
If the immune system does not have a chance to fight pathogens comprehensively, neighboring organs can also be attacked. Bacteria can lead to a so-called superinfection, which can show itself to various degrees.
A good example of this is otitis media, which is very common, especially in children, together with a runny nose. A stinging of the ears, an increased body temperature and fatigue are clear symptoms of this. Parents can also recognize complaints when children touch their ears more often, start crying, or sleep poorly. It is essential that you have these symptoms assessed by a pediatrician.
Also, pneumonia can arise as a result of protracted cold, although this is more the exception and requires a highly weakened immune system. Productive cough with dry phlegm, high fever over 39 degrees Celsius, fatigue and painful breathing are typical. See a doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms, because pneumonia can be life-threatening if left untreated!
Asthmatics need to be extra careful. People with asthma who catch a cold should seek treatment as soon as possible. If a strong, dry cough occurs, it can lead to shortness of breath, which can lead to suffocation. In such a case, it is important to call the emergency doctor immediately to get help as soon as possible.
In addition, if otitis media in children is not completely treated until it has healed, further symptoms can result, such as so-called mastoiditis, in which the temporal bone becomes inflamed, causing pain behind the ear.
In this case, it is also important to quickly receive suitable drug treatment from the pediatrician, because otherwise the pathogen can reach the brain and possibly trigger an inflammation of the skin there – in the worst case it can be fatal.
A cold dragged on can lead to serious complications. First of all, there is a risk that the pathogens will spread in the body and develop secondary diseases. The viruses often cause severe inflammation of the bronchial mucous membranes, which is associated with a dry cough, difficulty swallowing and slimy sputum.
If it worsens further, the pathogens can cause life-threatening pneumonia. If the immune system is already severely weakened at this point, the cold viruses can penetrate the blood into the brain. The result is a dangerous inflammation of the meninges, which is usually associated with severe headaches, fever and fatigue.
If the pathogens get into the heart muscle, heart muscle inflammation can occur. The disease usually goes unnoticed and can permanently damage the heart’s pumping function. This can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and fatal heart failure.
If the kidneys are affected, inflammation of the kidneys or the renal pelvis can occur, which is associated with severe pain and impaired kidney function. Due to the severity of the complications, a doctor should be consulted immediately if the flu is suspected. In treating the original infection, complications are unlikely.
Correct aftercare should be observed, especially if you have a cold. Most people think that the condition is gone when symptoms wear off. But that’s not always the case. A cold requires a long recovery time. Even if the symptoms have almost subsided, the affected person should continue to take it easy.
Excessive overexertion should therefore be avoided. In addition, drugs prescribed by the family doctor should be taken to the end. It is important to take it in full so that the disease does not return completely. Warmth baths or short walks will help advance recovery.
The fresh air ensures that the body can absorb enough oxygen to secrete viruses and bacteria. Warmth is also a good option for aftercare. If the body sweats, all bacteria are eliminated from the body. It is very important that efforts or hard work are avoided.
Exercise in the gym or any form of sport too risky for the weakened body. All sporting activities, such as endurance sports or the like, should only be resumed once you have fully recovered. These guidelines should be strictly adhered to in order to completely subside the cold. Long-term effects, such as heart muscle inflammation or bronchitis, can also be avoided with this prescribed follow-up care.
How to cure a cold properly
A slight runny nose is certainly not a reason to call in sick and stay at home – but if you feel generally weak and tired and suffer from other symptoms such as cough and sore throat, you should definitely allow yourself a break gain weight.
Therefore: Allow yourself and your body as much rest as possible. Stay at home, make yourself comfortable on the couch and treat yourself to a cup of chamomile tea or another herbal tea that has a soothing and calming effect on the mucous membranes. You are welcome to add a spoonful of honey, it is also very relaxing for the throat. Another option is the old home remedy of inhaling warm essential oils.
Your family doctor may also be able to help with some good tips – you should therefore always contact him. Classic medications like expectorants aren’t wrong either in helping you feel better. Important: Don’t go back to work until you feel fit enough to do it.
A cold can last a few days – even if some people say otherwise, you should always listen to your body. After all, it is always better to start the day fresh and healthy, instead of sitting in the office with only half concentration and greater effort – especially since you can also infect other colleagues in this way.
You can do that yourself
A cold often catches those affected at the wrong time. Hardly anyone is enthusiastic when they have to cancel an important professional or private appointment because of a cold. A flu-like infection is therefore often played down or suppressed with medication. Which not always, but very often, can lead to very serious complications. A cough can then turn into chronic bronchitis or pneumonia.
In order to prevent such serious complications, a patient should critically question his or her state of health. Being honest with yourself is the best means of self-help in such situations. Anyone who really only has a mild cough or runny nose can certainly suppress the symptoms for a few hours with over-the-counter medication in order to keep an important appointment. If the symptoms improve quickly, a visit to a doctor is not even necessary.
However, caution is advised as soon as a severe course of the disease becomes apparent. Patients who feel tired and exhausted, suffer from headaches and aching limbs and develop a fever should consult a doctor quickly and stay at home in the rest of the way, preferably in bed. It is also far more beneficial for the employer and the family if the person affected takes a week off, but is then fully operational again, instead of risking a relapse and then being absent for months due to the complications.