• chill
  • sniff
  • gripal infect

medically: rhinitis
English: Cold


The term cold is rather colloquial and medically not strictly demarcated. Mostly, the clinical picture of a common cold includes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and / or pharynx with inflammatory swelling of the nasal mucosa and increased production of mucus and fluid. It can also cause cough-like symptoms (bronchitis) as well as headache, limb pain, sore throat and fever.

Frequency of cold

The common cold is one of the most common diseases in humans. On average, a person suffers from a cold 3-4 times a year. The symptoms and extent of the disease may differ in severity and duration. Children get sick with a cold up to 15 times a year. A gender-specific difference in incidence can not be determined.


A cold can be caused by many different viruses. Cold temperatures and freezing alone are not enough for a disease, but favor them. If the body is overcooled, then the mucous membranes are less well supplied with blood and can provide less resistance to the pathogens. Common causes of a cold are, for example, adenoviruses. Infection is usually via droplet infection (sneezing, coughing or talking). By inhaling the pathogens they reach the mucous membranes, from where they can affect the respiratory tract.

Symptoms such as pharyngitis, runny nose ( rhinitis ) or coughing appear after about 5 to 8 days. Also very common are infections with rhinoviruses. These occur mainly in spring and late summer, so that each person is infected about 4 times a year. The transmission takes place from person to person either via droplet infection or via lubrication and contact infection. In this case, the transfer either by direct physical contact such as when shaking hands (contact infection) or touching objects that are contaminated with Körpersekreten such as saliva (used handkerchiefs, doorknobs, etc.). Most of the pathogens then reach the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose or mouth, which they attack. Other pathogens are Parainfluenza, RS, or Coxsackieviruses.


The cold-triggering viruses can be transmitted both by the so-called droplet infection and by a smear infection. Through droplets, in the form of breath over the air, the viruses can be transmitted from one person to another very quickly and thus reach the body via inhalation. About a smear infection would be infected by contaminated materials (eg used handkerchiefs, etc.). How fast such an infection is, and whether a pathogen must be in contact with humans for a long time or not until an infection is triggered, is not yet fully understood. However, it is believed that the time required for infection is determined by the pathogen and subtype.

Once the virus enters the body, it attaches to the body's own cells. Since the virus itself has no mitochondria ( power plants of the cell ) that can produce proteins, it relies on foreign cells that help the virus in propagation. After attachment to the human cell, the virus injects its genetic material ( nucleic acid ) into the cell interior. The genetic material is then multiplied by the human cell. It comes to the virus multiplication in the cell and then either to the dissolution of the human cell with release of the many new viruses or to the removal with intact cell wall. In any case, however, the human cell is so disturbed by the reproduction process that corresponding disease symptoms occur. The newly formed viruses immediately infect other body cells, resulting in a very rapid progressing pyramidal system in the human body.

risk of infection

Colds are triggered by viral pathogens and are usually highly contagious. From the infection to the onset of the first symptoms usually only one to two days pass, in which the infected person can infect even other humans. The most contagious is the patient probably in the first two to three days of the disease, the risk of infection persists for about a week. Older people, children and people with a weakened immune system can also be contagious for longer.

On the other hand, not everyone who comes into contact with the virus automatically comes to the onset of symptoms. The viruses as disease triggers can get on the one hand by droplet infection, ie by sneezing, coughing or speaking from the mucous membranes of one to the next person, from where they affect the respiratory tract. The other possibility of pathogen transmission is the lubrication and contact infection. In this case, the transfer either by direct physical contact such as when shaking hands (contact infection) or by touching with body secretions such as saliva contaminated objects (such as used handkerchiefs or door handles). In order to protect contact persons from infection it is therefore advisable to sneeze and cough in a handkerchief so as not to spread the viruses in the room and to avoid body contact such as shaking hands as much as possible. The most important hygiene measure is besides the regular hand washing.


The cold usually manifests itself as a scratch in the throat, but usually does not last longer than two to three days. It may also be that sets in addition to a feeling of cold and shivering. This is followed by the manifestation of nasal irritation ( rhinitis ) with nasal running and sneezing. The symptoms called colds then reach their climax on the second day of illness. After 4-5 days it can then lead to headache and body aches, in some cases still fever occurs to about 38.5 degrees Celsius. Affected individuals also often report a noseburn.

Most patients complain of exhaustion and fatigue after a few days when the full picture of the common cold. Due to the inflammatory swelling of the nasal mucous membrane, it comes, depending on the severity of the inflammation, the disappearance of the ability to taste, which returns but after the onset of the cold. The average duration of the illness is about one week. In some cases it comes to a complicated course. This includes spreading to the paranasal sinuses with resulting sinusitis, spreading to the bronchial tubes with bronchitis, or spreading to the middle ear resulting in otitis media .

In extreme cases, untreated sinusitis can also result in paranasal sinus replacement, which must then be treated surgically with antibiotic-containing drugs or even on a chronic course. Furthermore, pneumonia and inflammation of the larynx ( laryngitis ) are further complicated but rare courses of common cold.

  • Symptoms of a cold
  • Why is the voice often gone during a cold?


A common cold is usually a viral infection that affects only the respiratory tract mucosa.

Since the ear via the so-called Eustachian tube, or Tuba auditiva called, is in connection with the pharynx, it may come in an inflammation of the nasal and pharyngeal mucosa also affect the ear and its function.
The result is usually an increased feeling of pressure in the ear or the feeling that the ear is closed. Either it comes in the context of a cold swelling of the mucous membrane in the pharynx, so the access to the middle ear, so the Eustachian tube, it is also affected and the ventilation of the ear no longer works as usual.

As a result, the eardrum can no longer adequately vibrate and the transmission of noise is reduced. This is especially the case if you regularly have problems with tube ventilation anyway and are more prone to doing so. Or it comes to a middle ear inflammation on the one hand a limited outflow on the Eustachian tube and on the other hand by a bacterial superinfection.
Often, nose drops can help not only to never swell the nasal mucosa, but also to minimize the region in which the auditory tube sits. Then the ear is no longer closed and both the eardrum and the drain are working normally again. If there is severe pain in the ear and no improvement in the symptoms, then a doctor should be consulted to clarify a bacterial colonization and a possible antibiotic treatment.

symptom relief

Colds are viral diseases, which means that nothing can be done about their cause, because there are no medicines for viruses. The body has to deal with the intruders on their own and fight them.

On the other hand, the symptoms of a cold can be alleviated or completely suppressed.

A lot of sleep and rest help the body in fighting the virus.

It is also important to support the self-healing of the body, it is to take many vitamins. Fresh fruits, such as apples, oranges or mandarins, are recommended. Tablets or dietary supplements containing vitamin C or the like should rather be avoided. The body can not process the artificially produced substances well and they are for the most part excreted again.

A well-known symptom of colds is the stuffy nose. Nasal sprays with a decongestant effect help to breathe freely again. These sprays should not be used for more than three days otherwise there is a risk of dependence. Saltwater, which is alternately pulled up through both nostrils, also ensures a clear nose. This is simply salt mixed with warm water. One nostril shut, with the other nostril deep into the glass and then pull up the nose.

The body's own virus fight

In contrast to bacterial infections that use antibiotics, drug treatment of the virus only makes sense in very severe cases. In most cases, only a symptomatic therapy is to be considered (see therapy cold). The fact that colds usually subside after a week is solely due to the body's immune system, which begins to work after the virus enters the human body. The prerequisite is, of course, that the patient has an intact, fully functioning and non-weakened immune system. The weaker an immune system is, the harder and longer is the course of the disease.

After initial contact with the virus, the body begins to produce scavenger cells and dendritic cells. These cells can recognize and identify foreign substances, including viruses. After ingestion and decomposition of the viruses in the phagocytes, fragments of the viruses on the surface of the phagocytes are presented to the B and T lymphocytes. This activates these cells, which belong to the specific immune system. Some cells can kill the viruses immediately, others start to make antibodies, which then bind to the virus and are then eaten. After infection, the antibodies and the so-called memory cells in the body are preserved to prevent re-infection. But as viruses can often alter their outer shell, they outsmart the immune system. Immunity thus rarely occurs in viruses. If the immune system is weakened either by immune system-throttling drugs such as cortisone or, for example, by stress, it can no longer work as efficiently.
The cold then breaks out in most cases, the disease is more serious and longer.


Frequently, the diagnosis of a cold disease by the doctor already by the patient survey ( anamnesis ) are provided. Thus, the patient complains of colds, constant running of the nose, possibly cough, headache, body aches, fatigue and fever. The onset is likely to be gradual and presumably reported by the patient three to four days previously. The doctor will then monitor the lungs of the patient ( auscultation ), thereby excluding inflammation of the lungs or bronchi, looking into the ears with an otoscope to detect otitis media, glowing in the neck with a flashlight to detect inflammation of the tonsils and pat the paranasal sinuses to prevent inflammation or suppuration in this area. In many cases, the doctor will determine a positive finding. This then confirms the diagnosis of a cold.

The doctor should also consider the time of the occurrence of a cold. If a patient comes into the practice among many and in addition to a cool and wet season, the diagnosis of a cold can be faster than if a patient comes in the summer for the fourth time in a row with cold-like symptoms in the practice. In this case, one must always consider the suspicion of an immunodeficiency or immune system restriction by a malignant disease (eg Plasmozytom ) into consideration. In the case of an uncomplicated course or clear diagnosis of a cold, no further diagnostic measures are necessary and merely suggest the patient to be reminded to stop the symptoms after 1-2 weeks.


In case of a cold, medicines can be used to relieve the symptoms.

In most cases, a cold heals by itself. Most of the complaints disappear after a few days. However, a sense of exhaustion and fatigue can last for several weeks. An antibiotic therapy almost never makes sense, since a common cold is usually caused by viruses. Antibiotics would cause harm rather than benefit here. The virus-caused cold can not be treated causally. It only remains to relieve the symptoms that cause the most discomfort.

Acute rhinitis, for example, can be treated with a vapor inhalation. The nasal secretion is thus released and the mucous membrane swells, so that the breathing is much easier. It can also decongestant nose drops or sprays (active ingredient: xylometazoline or oxymetazoline ) are used. However, these preparations should be used a maximum of 2 times a day and not longer than a week, as they can damage the nasal mucosa and have a habituation effect, so "addictive" make. Special care should be taken with children. More suitable are sea salt drops or sprays for the nose, which cause no habituation or mucosal damage.

For sore throat troches help with lavender or Icelandic moss. Alternatively, one can buy in the pharmacy preparations containing lidocaine or benzocaine as locally anesthetic agents. Hoarseness helps only to spare the voice a few days as possible and wear a scarf. The swollen vocal cords can swell for a short time only by sucking ice cubes. For coughing can be inhaled with essential oils, such as eucalyptus or peppermint or with sage.

In young children or patients with sensitive airways (eg, asthma sufferers) is strongly discouraged by strong smelling substances. For fixed cough, mucolytic herbal substances such as eucalyptus or ivy can be used, or synthetic agents such as N-acetylcysteine ​​( ACC ). The medication should not be taken immediately before going to bed, during the day is to ensure a sufficient amount of drinking. However, most expectorants have an unpleasant side effect irritating the gastric mucosa, which is why the inhalation due to their compatibility is initially recommended. Cough suppressants can help to sleep better at night, but prevent on the other side, the coughing up of the mucus and the pathogen sitting in it. They should therefore be used with caution and best only after consultation with the doctor.

Home remedies for a cold

A cold is harmless to a person with a healthy immune system and in most cases is mild. Only the typical symptoms such as cold, cough or sore throat can be very annoying. Usually it is not necessary to visit the doctor immediately in the case of a common cold, as this can only treat the virus infection symptomatically. A proven home remedy for colds and blemished bronchi, for example, the steam inhalation. Especially suitable for inhalation are soothing chamomile and lavender teas as well as mild essential oils. Inhalation moisturizes the respiratory tract, restoring its protective function and supporting its cleaning function. The viscous secretion liquefies so and can be better coughed off or geschnätet. The inhalation can be applied one to three times a day for about 5 to 20 minutes. A well-suited cold ointment for inhalation is the Wick Vaporub® refrigerated ointment, which can be purchased over the counter at the pharmacy.

A nasal rinse with isotonic saline solution has a similar effect. This can either be purchased in the pharmacy or prepared with normal table salt (about two level teaspoons per liter of water) and with a nasal douche (also available in pharmacies or drugstores) are introduced into the nose. At least in the short term effective against hoarseness is the sucking of ice cubes, which can so swell the irritated vocal cords. Strongly boiled chamomile and lavender teas are also suitable for gargling because of their anti-inflammatory effect (spilling the tea afterwards) and can thus relieve sore throats. For muscle aches in case of more severe colds, cold baths containing menthol, eucalyptus or spruce needles can help as they promote blood circulation. The optimum bath temperature is 38 ° C, it should not be bathed longer than about 15 minutes. When circulatory problems hot baths are rather discouraged. In case of a cold, attention should always be paid to a sufficient amount of drinking water. Particularly suitable for this are cold tea with, for example, elderflower, sage, eucalyptus or peppermint. Even freshly cooked ginger tea should accelerate the healing. Hot water with fresh lemon and honey provides vitamin C and strengthens the immune system.

A commonly used home remedy for cough is onion syrup, which consists of the juice of chopped onions with sugar. Even against earache, which often accompany concomitant in the context of a cold, the onions can be used. They are chopped and wrapped in a thin linen cloth. Depending on the condition, the person lying on the bed puts this onion bag warm or cold on the aching ear. Even potatoes are usually in every household and can be used to combat a stubborn cold. This is how potato wraps help with sore throats through their warming effect. To do this, put some boiled potatoes in a cloth and crush them. The cloth puts the sufferer tightly around the neck and leaves it there until the soothing warming effect subsides.

The opposite cooling effect quark wrap, which may have a soothing effect, for example, in tonsillitis. Fever is a natural defense mechanism of the body and should not be suppressed at first. However, if the fever rises to about 38.5 ° C, it may be pleasant for the person affected to lower the body temperature a bit. Moist calf wraps, for example, are suitable for this purpose, cool moist linen wraps being wrapped around the lower legs. Wrapped up with a towel, the legs can be stored in a relaxed manner until the cloth has warmed to body heat. The process can be repeated up to three times.

How can you prevent a cold?

There is no vaccine against a cold ( influenza ) in contrast to the flu ( influenza ). However, in order to prevent one from suffering from a cold, the body's immune system can be strengthened by other means. A strong immune system fights the cause of a cold, so mostly viruses, in contact with these pathogens more effective than a weakened immune system and makes a disease less likely. In addition to regular physical activity and a reduction in stress, which certainly has a general preventive effect on the disease, this also includes a balanced diet. Especially vitamins and minerals found in all fresh foods are important here. Fruits and vegetables should be on the menu, especially in the cold season in sufficient quantities. Those who eat a balanced diet usually do not need supplements. If this is not always successful, it is possible to resort to vitamin C and zinc preparations, which are available to the body in depot form over a longer period of time and should help it to fight against a threatening cold.

Just as important as a balanced diet is to drink plenty of fluids. Thus, the mucous membranes are kept moist and can maintain their barrier function against pathogens. Particularly suitable are water and unsweetened teas. In particular, ginger, elderberry or lime blossom is said to have an immune-stimulating effect. Another tip to stimulate the immune system are warm-cold alternating showers. Also, regular walks in the fresh air are advisable to get used to the body to the cool temperatures. Of course you have to pay attention to warm clothes and you should not go outside with fresh hair.

Dry heating air, however, is to be avoided, regular short airing is advantageous here. However, a draft should be avoided at all costs. Also, sauna visits or regular warm foot baths can help to prevent a cold. An equally obvious and effective tip is to stay away from the pathogens that are mostly viruses. These can either be transmitted via droplet infection, ie by speaking, coughing or sneezing, or via lubrication and contact infection, ie mainly via the hands or contaminated objects such as handkerchiefs or door handles. For example, it is advisable to wear gloves outside and to wash your hands thoroughly on a regular basis. Common sources of infection are those where people are close to each other, such as in public transport. If possible, it is advisable to take a walk in the fresh air instead of driving on the crowded buses and trains.


In the vast majority of cases, colds with or without treatment heal without consequences after a few days (maximum 1-2 weeks). It should be noted that a medication only relieves the symptoms, such as headaches or fever, but does not accelerate the recovery process. In some cases, a superinfection can be expected, which acts as a bacterial infection on the viral infection and prolongs the recovery process accordingly. Also in this case, the use of antibiotic therapy must be considered. If the patient has no immune-compromising pre-existing conditions, the prognosis of a cold illness is very good, even with bacterial superinfection.

Duration of a cold

The duration of a cold is very different and depends on many factors.

As a rule of thumb, however, it can be said that each cold usually lasts one to two weeks, and most of the time regardless of whether or not measures are taken to treat symptoms of a cold.
One factor that causes a cold is determined by the physical and health condition that prevails at the time of illness. If the immune system is limited and weakened by a serious underlying disease or immunosuppressive therapy, it may take a little longer for the body to fight a cold than when it becomes ill from its very health. This is called a chronic cold.

The duration may also be extended in the case of very old people or preterm infants, since either the immune system has already degraded so slowly or is still in the learning process. Also, a bacterial superinfection, for example, the pharyngeal tonsils or paranasal sinuses can prolong the duration. However, here the duration of the cold itself is not affected, but the symptoms of the infection prolong the duration of the disease itself.

Of course, a cold lasts, if only to a small extent, longer, if you take no rest and does not take enough liquid. A big difference between the treatment and the duration of a viral and a bacterial infection is that the use of drugs that act specifically against the pathogen in the viral infection no immediate improvement and no shortening of the duration occur.

To treat a cold with antiviral drugs is therefore not the rule, also because these drugs are more likely for the treatment of influenza in question. The only remedies that work are medicines for the symptoms of a cold, such as cough syrup, decongestant nose drops and painkillers for headache.

Thus, after a short time already an improvement of the condition can be noted and that in turn has a positive effect on the duration of the cold. Also, a lot of sleep and a lot of drinking are conducive to the duration of the disease, because the immune system can concentrate fully on combating the viral infection. Even if you have mild symptoms of a cold even after more than two weeks, this is no cause for concern. The exception is that the symptoms have become progressively worse, the general condition is increasingly reduced, and there is a high fever. Then a doctor should be consulted for clarification.

Sauna visit during a cold - is that possible?

If you have a fever, you should not go to the sauna.

Some studies want to show that regular sauna goers are less likely to catch colds than other people. The principle is that the high temperatures during the sauna stimulate the circulation of the mucous membranes and thus protect them with their defense cells more effective against pathogens. The alternately hot sauna bath followed by a rapid cooling should serve as a heat regulation training, so that the body adjusts to changing temperatures more easily. The blood vessels in the skin should be trained to reduce heat loss in a cool environment and make it more difficult for the pathogen to invade.

However, the sauna bath is only effective if it is used regularly (ie once or twice a week) and experienced as relaxation. A sauna bath should last no longer than 15 minutes and then the body should be briefly cooled (eg under a cold shower), but not cool down. Whether you can "sweat out" a cold already existing by a sauna, is rather questionable. Especially if the cold has already progressed, the sauna is too much stress on the cardiovascular system and can worsen symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. Even with fever, a sauna visit will hardly be experienced as pleasant and relaxing.

Exercising during a cold

How much exercise and effort is recommended for a cold, depends very clearly on the severity of the disease and especially on the subjective feeling of the patient. In case of a mild cold without symptoms such as coughing or sore throat and without feeling sick, it is certainly not harmful to continue with a moderate training. For this purpose, especially outdoor sports such as cycling or Nordic walking, in which the body is not required to the limit. Important here is breathable, sufficiently warm clothing.

Symptoms of an increased sensation or exacerbation of the symptoms following physical exertion is a sign that the training may be paused for a few days. In case of symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fatigue or a real sense of illness should definitely be waived sports until the symptoms subsided. An infection is a stressful situation for the immune system and the entire body. If physical training is added as an additional burden, the body can not concentrate on controlling the pathogens and the course of the disease is negatively influenced. The eradication of the pathogens can lead to myocarditis ( myocarditis ), a potentially life-threatening inflammation, which can be expressed initially only by nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue and fever. In case of a cold with a fever, you should always refrain from any physical exertion, as the increased body temperature is always a sign that the body is working hard to fight an infection and needs its strength for it. In this case, you should at least a week on physical exertion and any burden.

  • Sport währned a cold
  • Sports after a cold - from when?

Special features of a cold in pregnancy

Auch in der Schwangerschaft bleiben Frauen vor einer Erkältung nicht verschont, denn das Immunsystem kann durch diesen körperlichen Stressfaktor geschwächt und damit empfänglicher für virale Infektionen sein.

Diese Erkältung stellt aber für das Kind im Mutterleib im Normalfall keine Gefahr dar. Der Verlauf der Erkältung ist ebenfalls in der Regel harmlos. Die Symptome der Erkältung sind wie sonst auch hauptsächlich auf die Atemwege beschränkt und können von Kopfschmerzen und Abgeschlagenheit begleitet sein.
Wie stark beispielsweise eine verstopfte Nase, Husten und Halsschmerzen ausgeprägt sind ist individuell unterschiedlich.
Jedoch hält eine Erkältung meist nie länger als eine bis zwei Wochen an. Wichtig bei einer Erkältung in der Schwangerschaft ist zum einen, dass es nicht zum Fieber über 38, 5°C kommen sollte. Falls es doch zum Fieber kommt, sollte ein Arzt aufgesucht werden, der eine geeignete Behandlung beginnt.
Zum anderen sollte ausgeschlossen werden, dass nicht doch eine grippale oder andere virale Infektion vorliegt.

Treten Symptome auf, die nicht zu einer typischen Erkältung passen, wie Durchfall, Erbrechen, Hautausschlag oder ähnliches, sollte ebenfalls ein Arzt zur Abklärung aufgesucht werden.
Auch bei der Behandlung der Erkältung gibt es einiges zu beachten, denn viele Medikamente dürfen aufgrund ihrer Nebenwirkungen in der Schwangerschaft nicht verwendet werden. Daher sollte auf alternative Mittel zur Therapie der Symptome einer Erkältung zurückgegriffen werden. Anstelle eines Hustensaftes aus der Apotheke, kann man sich selbst einen Zwiebelsirup aus gehackten Zwiebeln und Kandiszucker herstellen, der ebenfalls schleimlösend wirkt und dabei keinerlei Einflüsse auf das Kind hat.
Bei Halsschmerzen wird auch immer gerne Salbeitee zum Gurgeln oder einfach zum Trinken empfohlen, da dieser mild und wohltuend auf die Schleimhäute wirkt. Zum Abschwellen der Nasenschleimhaut kann anstelle eines abschwellenden Nasensprays auch Kochsalzlösung verwendet werden oder über heißem Kamillentee inhaliert werden. Beides ist wiederum unbedenklich für das Kind.

Vorsicht ist jedoch bei der Verwendung von ätherischen Ölen geboten, die in vielen Produkten enthalten sind und auf die in der Schwangerschaft besser verzichtet werden sollte. Bei Kopfschmerzen kann nach Rücksprache mit einem Arzt in geringer Menge und geringer Einnahmehäufigkeit auch Paracetamol genommen werden. Ansonsten gilt wie bei jeder Erkältung auch, dass Ruhe, viel Schlaf, und viel Trinken sehr förderlich für die Heilung sind. Auch Spaziergänge an der frischen Luft regen den Kreislauf und die Erholung der Atemwege an.

Somit ist auch eine Erkältung in der Schwangerschaft ein überwindbares und unproblematisches Hindernis.

Cold at the baby

Auch ein Baby kann von einer Erkältung betroffen sein, denn in den ersten Lebenswochen- und monaten wird das Immunsystem mit einer Menge von Stressfaktoren konfrontiert und muss erst einmal lernen damit umzugehen.
Ebenso wie bei Erwachsenen so sind auch bei einem Baby in den meisten Fällen Viren die Ursache für diese Erkältung. Betroffen von der viralen Infektion sind vor allem die Atemwege und hierbei insbesondere die Nase.
Eine Erkältung bei einem Baby hat in der Regel einen harmlosen Verlauf und dauert in etwa eine bis zwei Wochen bis sie von alleine wieder abheilt. Als Reaktion auf die Virusinfektion kann es unter Umständen zum Fieber kommen, welches beobachtet werden sollte.

Im Normalfall reicht hier die Gabe von fiebersenkenden Mitteln, welche speziell für Babys sind, aus. Im Zweifelsfall kann die Behandlung mit dem Kinderarzt abgesprochen werden. Was zu Problemen im Verlauf führen könnte ist eine durch die Erkältung verstopfte Nase, da beim Trinken der Milch, das Baby nicht mehr ausreichend Luft bekommt und somit die Nahrung verweigert. Hier verschaffen abschwellende Nasentropfen oder Kochsalzlösung Abhilfe, da sie die Nase wieder frei machen und damit die Nahrungs- und Flüssigkeitsaufnahme des Babys wieder normal funktioniert.

Weitere Anzeichen für eine Erkältung sind eine laufende Nase, weinerliches beziehungsweise unruhiges Verhalten und Abgeschlagenheit. Neben einer medikamentösen Therapie zur Behandlung der Symptome sind Ausruhen, viel Schlaf und viel trinken geeignete Maßnahmen, um eine Erkältung beim Abheilen zu unterstützen.


Erkältungserkrankungen, oder auch grippaler Infekt genannt, gehören zu den häufigsten Erkrankungen. 11% aller in die Hausarztpraxis kommenden Patienten klagen über erkältungsähnliche Symptome. Im Laufe eines Jahres erkrankt jeder Mensch im Durchschnitt an 3-4 Erkältungen. Kinder sind weitaus häufiger betroffen und erkranken 11-13 Mal an einer Erkältung. Der grippale Infekt wird fast ausschließlich durch Viren verursacht. Die Viren sind verschiedenen Virusfamilien zugeordnet, die widerum über zahlreiche Subtypen verfügen. Zu nennen wären: Rhinoviren, Coxsackieviren, Coronaviren, Parainfluenzavirus und Adenoviren . Vor allem in feuchten Milieu können Viren besonders lange überleben. Die Infektion erfolgt durch Tröpfcheninfektion über die Luft und über Schmierinfektionen durch kontaminiertes Material (zB Taschentücher etc.).

Nach der Aufnahme heftet sich das Virus an die körpereigenen Zellen, injiziert sein Erbgut und regt die Zelle zur Reproduktion des Virusgenoms an. Dieses wird dann entweder durch entsprechende Zellauflösung in den Körper ausgeschüttet oder durch die intakte Zellwand nach außen transportiert. Die durch diesen Vorgang entstehenden, viele neuen Viren befallen sofort weiter Körperzellen. Dadurch entsteht ein Schneeballsystem. Die Erstsymptome eines grippalen Infektes äußern sich meistens in Halskratzen, Nasenlaufen, Hitzewallungen und leicht erhöhter Temperatur. Auch kann es zu Kopf- und Gliederschmerzen und Husten mit Auswurf kommen. Ein grippaler Infekt ist meist eine Diagnose, die der Arzt durch die Patientenbefragung ( Anamnese ) stellt. Der Vollständigkeit wird er die Lunge des Patienten mit einem Stethoskop abhören (um eine Bronchitis auszuschließen), in den Hals schauen (um eine Beteiligung des Rachens und der Mandeln auszuschließen), in die Ohren schauen (Ausschluss einer Mittelohrentzündung) sowie die Nasennebenhöhlen abklopfen (um eine Nasennebenhöhlenentzündung auszuschließen). Auf weitere diagnostische Maßnahmen kann in der Regel bei Erkältungserkrankungen verzichtet werden.

In einigen Fällen setzt sich auf den viralen Infekt eine sogenannte bakterielle Superinfektion mit drauf, die dann als komplizierter Verlauf mit antibiotikahaltigen Medikamenten behandelt werden sollte. Weitere Komplikationen eines grippalen Infektes stellen die Bronchitis (bei Befall der Lunge), die Mittelohrentzündung (bei Mittelohrbefall), die Nasennebenhöhlenentzündung oder in schweren Fällen die Nasennebenhöhlenvereiterung oder die Kehlkopfentzündung dar. In diesen Fällen sollte immer eine antibiotische Therapie erfolgen. Handelt es sich um einen unkomplizierten Verlauf einer Erkältungserkrankung, beinhaltet die Therapie meistens lediglich symptomatiche Maßnahmen, die aus der Linderung der Kopfschmerzen und Senkung des Fiebers besteht. Hier sollten Präparate, wie Paracetamol, Ibuprofen oder ASS 100 zum Einsatz kommen. Des Weiteren ist auf eine ausreichende Flüssigkeitsmenge am Tag zu achten, die aus 2-3 Litern Wasser und Tee bestehen sollte. Der Patient sollte auf einen ruhigen Tagesablauf achten und mehrmals am Tag inhalative Dampfbäder aus Kamille oder Salz sowie Rotlichtbestrahlungen der Nasennebenhöhlen durchführen.

Auch zahlreiche Substanzen aus der Naturheilkunde, wie zB die südafrikanische Kapland Pelargonie, der Sonnenhut, Kamille oder Salbei, der Thymian, das Efeu, die Schlüsselblume oder die Malve finden in der Behandlung von Erkältungserkrankungen in Form von Tees oder Tropfen Verwendung. Es darf allerdings nicht vergessen werden, dass viele Heilpflanzen in Ihrer Reinform ungenießbar und sogar für den Menschen giftig sind. Aus diesem Grund sollten Präparate aus der Apotheke verwendet werden. Auch sollten entsprechende Interaktionen zwischen Heilpflanzen und zusätzlich eingenommenen schulmedizinischen Medikamenten nicht unterschätzt und beachtet werden. Sich schon sehr lange etablierte Hausmittel, wie das Trinken von Hühnersuppe oder das Essen von Vitamin C reichen Obst- und Gemüsesorten, finden auch immer wieder in der Erkältungsbehandlung Anwendung. Häufig ist der Wirkungsmechanismus nicht bekannt, die Wirkung aber von den Nutzern bestätigt.

Die häufige landläufige Meinung, Erkältungen würden durch Feuchtigkeit oder Kälte ( nasse Füsse, nasser Kopf ) entstehen, konnte von vielen Studien nicht bestätigt werden. Lediglich eine starke Unterkühlung und damit Drosselung des Immunsystems konnte als begünstigender Faktor aufgezeigt werden. Der grippale Infekt muss gesondert von der Grippe betrachtet werden, die durch den Influenzavirus verursacht wird. Dieser ändert in jeder Saison sein aüßeres Erscheinungsbild und muss so immer wieder neu identifiziert werden, damit ein entsprechender Impfstoff (siehe auch: Impfung) gefunden werden kann. Gegen einen grippalen Infekt gibt es aufgrund der vielen möglichen Krankheitserreger und der entsprechenden Variabilität keine Impfmöglichkeit. Im allgemeinen kann man sagen, dass der grippale Infekt harmloser und schneller verläuft als die ( Influenza )Grippe, die durch plötzlichen Beginn, starke Kopf- und Gliederschmerzen, hohes Fieber, heftigen trockenen Husten und schlechten Allgemeinzustand charakterisiert ist. In der Regel heilt der grippale Infekt ohne Folgen innerhalb von wenigen Tage bis maximal 2 Wochen wieder aus. Bei Patienten, die eine immunsystemdrosselnde Begleiterkrankung haben, muss frühzeitig eine antibiotische Therapie begonnen werden, um eine bakterielle Superinfektion zu vermeiden. Zu diesen Patienten gehören HIV-Patienten, Menschen mit Diabetes mellitus und Patienten, die unter Chemotherapeutika stehen.

Neben einer allgemein gesunden Ernährungs- und Lebensweise mit ausreichend Bewegung und Sport, vitaminreicher, ballaststoffreicher Ernährung und alltäglicher Stressreduzierung wären bei der Vorbeugung einer Erkältung lediglich die Kontaktvermeidung einer bereits infizierten Person zu nennen. Auch sollte nach Kontakt auf hygienische Maßnahmen, wie das Händewaschen, geachtet werden. Ansonsten muss festgehalten werden, dass das Aufkommen von Erkältungskrankheiten trotz entsprechenden vorbeugenden Maßnahmen nicht ausgeschlossen und bis zu einem bestimmten Ausmaß in Kauf genommen werden muss. Lediglich unnatürlich häufig auftretende Erkältungskrankheiten sollten aufmerksam beobachtet werden und den Verdacht auf eine begleitende Erkrankung (evtl. bösartige Tumorerkrankung oder andere immunsystemdrosselnde Erkrankungen) aufkommen lassen.

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