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5 day cold: Stages of the Common Cold: Your Day-by-Day Guide

Stages of the Common Cold: Your Day-by-Day Guide

The common cold is marked by waves of symptoms as it runs its course. Here’s what to expect during each stage of a cold.

By Beth GilbertMedically Reviewed by Justin Laube, MD

Reviewed:

Medically Reviewed

Keeping a few things on hand can make weathering a cold a lot easier: cough medicine, tissues, a thermometer to check your temperature, and hot cups of tea.

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Yesterday you felt fine, but today your nose is running and your throat feels scratchy. Yep, those are the first symptoms of a cold, which typically appear in adults about one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus.

What are you likely to feel like the rest of your week? Most often, symptoms of this upper respiratory tract infection crest around day four, and go away on their own within 7 to 10 days, says Aaron E. Glatt, MD, the chief of infectious diseases and a hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, New York.

Keep in mind that while seasonal colds peak in the winter and spring, it is possible to get one any time of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cold symptoms vary from person to person and can include:

  • Sore or scratchy throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Aching joints
  • Fatigue

Be aware that a cold’s contagious period has its own life span; it usually starts one or two days before cold symptoms kick in and continues as long as your symptoms are present, according to Cedars-Sinai. So it’s important to prevent spreading the infection by washing your hands frequently, fully covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and not touching others if at all possible.

What are the stages of a cold? Typically there are three.

Days 1 and 2: Stuffiness, Sore Throat, and Runny Nose

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“Although you can have a cold start with a number of different symptoms, the most common first symptoms are congestion, runny nose, and sore throat, signs that the virus is directly affecting your respiratory system,” says Nathan Favini, MD, an internist and the medical director of the nationwide healthcare system Forward.

In this first stage, it’s especially important to rest as much as possible to minimize fatigue and keep your immune system at full power.

Days 3 to 5: Cough and More Nasal Congestion

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Nasal symptoms continue to develop, peaking during the third and fourth days. You may notice that mucus from your runny nose has become thicker, with a yellow or green tinge. This usually is due to a spike in the number of white blood cells your immune system has dispatched to overcome the virus, according to the Mayo Clinic. As you get better over the next few days, the discharge tends to clear up. In the meantime, however, a cough may develop in response to postnasal drip, says Dr. Favini.

Days 6 and 7: Symptoms Ease

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The average duration of a cold is 7 to 10 days, and most people recover without any specific treatment. But cold symptoms may last longer or become more severe in people who have immune problems or other underlying health issues, such as diabetes, says Soma Mandal, MD, an internist with the Summit Medical Group in New Jersey. If you have a medical condition that puts you at increased risk for complications, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Be aware that it may take up to six weeks for a cough to disappear even after other symptoms fade, Dr. Mandal says. Usually, this is due to postnasal drip, which can continue to form while swollen and irritated nasal passages heal, she explains.

Beyond a Week: Could It Be Something Else?

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If you’ve been nursing a cold, but haven’t gotten better after a week, or if cold symptoms return often, you may be dealing with allergies or a sinus infection rather than a cold.

Symptoms commonly associated with allergies, which can last months, include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Clear runny nose
  • Nasal congestion

Symptoms of a sinus infection, which can last anywhere from one to three months or more, can include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Pressure or pain around the eyes and forehead
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

If you suspect allergies or a sinus infection, Dr. Glatt recommends seeing your doctor to get a complete evaluation.

Distinguishing Between Cold, COVID-19, and the Flu

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It can be difficult to tell these illnesses apart because they share so many traits. What’s more, because they are caused by different germs that affect the respiratory system, it’s possible — although rare — for them to overlap. In other words, you could have more than one ailment at the same time, according to the CDC.

One clue for distinguishing between them is fever, Mandal notes. “Fevers typically are not present for adults with the common cold, whereas with COVID it’s kind of common to have a low-grade fever, and you will probably experience a fever initially with the flu,” she says.

In general, CDC experts say, flu symptoms tend to come on suddenly rather than build up gradually as they do with the common cold. They are also more intense and last longer.

Symptoms of COVID-19 also seem to develop gradually, according to a study published on May 5, 2020, in Annals of Internal Medicine. And COVID-19 symptoms can include ones not typically seen with a cold or the flu, such as diarrhea and a new loss of taste or smell, according to the CDC.

As always, call your medical provider if any symptoms become severe or concerning to you. Be especially aware of the emergency warning signs for COVID-19. Someone showing any of the following signs should seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Additional reporting by Nuna Alberts.

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A Look at the Life Cycle of a Cold

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The common cold typically has three stages, during which you may experience different symptoms. The cold can often spread to others as long as you have active symptoms.

You might think cold season is only active during the winter, but that’s not the case. According to the Mayo Clinic, though you have a higher chance of developing a cold in the fall and winter, you can get a cold anytime during the year.

The CDC reports that adults have an average of two to three colds each year, while children can have even more.

And while you might be familiar with the symptoms and effects of the common cold, there’s a chance you’re unaware of:

  • how this upper respiratory virus progresses
  • how to treat it
  • when to call the doctor

While you can’t cure the common cold, there’s a lot to be said for prevention and self-care tips as your body works to rid itself of the virus.

If you’re concerned you might be at risk of catching a cold or you currently have one, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve compiled an overview of everything from stages and symptoms to recovery tips.

The tickle of an impending cold is all too familiar and can cause the desperate need to down glasses of orange juice and use lots of hand sanitizer.

Unfortunately, if your throat is already tingling or scratchy, it’s likely one of the 200 strains of the common cold virus — most commonly the rhinovirus — has already settled in for the next 7 to 10 days.

The most common symptoms to look out for during this stage are:

  • tingling or scratchy throat
  • body aches
  • tiredness or fatigue

Dr. Doug Nunamaker, a family practice physician and chief medical officer forAtlas MD, explains that it’s in these first days of a cold that most people don’t do enough to care for their symptoms.

Though there are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and remedies that can ease the symptoms of a cold during this stage, Nunamaker also suggests reaching for one of the most common dishes for people with a cold or flu: chicken noodle soup.

“It’s easy on the stomach, soothes the throat, [and] provides fluid for hydration,” he explains. If you have a fever or are sweating, he adds, chicken soup can also help replenish some of the salt your body might lose.

In terms of contagion levels, Nunamaker says your cold is contagious if you present “active symptoms.” So, the tickle in your throat, runny nose, body aches, and even low-grade fever mean you’re at risk of spreading the bug to everyone around you.

Recovery tips

  • Take decongestants and cough syrup but avoid mixing combination medications (e. g., don’t take ibuprofen separately if it’s also included in your cold medicine).
  • Get plenty of sleep and rest.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • OTC Zinc supplements or lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms, when taken soon after the onset of symptoms. However, a side effect may be a bad taste or nausea.

Ways to avoid spreading the cold virus while you’re still contagious:

  • Avoid public contact if at all possible by staying home from work and school.
  • Avoid physical contact with other people, such as kissing or shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Fully cover your cough and sneeze in your elbow or a tissue. Immediately dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.

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This is when the virus is at its peak intensity. You might find during this time that everything hurts, and your face feels like a running faucet. You may even experience a fever, which can be alarming.

Because you have a virus, however, you have a compromised immune system. A fever, explains Nunamaker, is your body’s way of defending your immune system.

“[A fever is] nature’s antibiotic. Let it ride,” he explains.

Nunamaker adds that a fever isn’t a concern until it’s 102 to 103°F (39°C). In fact, up to 100.4°F (38°C), you’re considered to have an “elevated temperature,” not a fever.

Fevers with a cold can be easily confused with the flu. You should remember that the flu has radically different, and far more severe symptoms, which come on hard, fast, and usually include a headache.

The most common symptoms to look out for during this stage of a cold are:

  • sore throat
  • cough
  • congestion or runny nose
  • fatigue
  • aches
  • chills or low-grade fever

As was the case in stage 1, if your symptoms are still active, you’re still contagious. During this time, you should continue to be mindful about being around others and avoid physical interactions.

Recovery tips

  • Avoid smoking, if you smoke, as it paralyzes the cilia in the lungs and takes longer to heal.
  • Avoid asking your healthcare provider for an antibiotic. This is a viral infection and an antibiotic will not help. In fact, it could make things worse.
  • Use a cough suppressant if you find it difficult to sleep.
  • Take ibuprofen for body aches.
  • Get your daily amount of vitamin C (1 to 2 grams per day) via fresh fruit or supplements.
  • Gargle with salt water.
  • Use a humidifier, or take a steam bath or shower.
  • Use Chloraseptic or Cepacol lozenges. The benzocaine is a topical numbing agent and can help soothe sore throats.
  • Continue to take zinc supplements or lozenges.

While your body fights the cold virus, it’s vital to stay hydrated throughout all three stages of your cold.

A cold typically wraps up around day 10. There are, of course, exceptions. If you’re still feeling the effects, your symptoms worsen, or your fever increases then it’s time to re-evaluate and think about a different course of treatment.

When should I call a doctor?

  1. While it’s tempting to call the doctor when you’re feeling crummy for a couple of days, it’s best to avoid doing so until after your symptoms have persisted for longer than 10. Call a doctor if your symptoms worsen after this time.

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Some people might also experience what’s known as the post-infectious cough, which is a nagging cough that can last an average of 18 days after your cold subsides. If, however, all your other symptoms have ended, you can consider yourself free and clear.

If the other “active” symptoms are still present, you’re still contagious and should continue to follow the tips to prevent spreading the virus.

The most common symptoms to look out for during this stage are the following:

  • cough
  • congestion
  • runny nose
  • fatigue

Recovery tips

  • Continue to cover your cough with your sleeve at the elbow or with a tissue, and wash your hands.
  • Continue taking an OTC ibuprofen, decongestant, cough suppressant, or antihistamine, as needed.

Here’s a list of cold remedies you can buy now:

  • ibuprofen
  • Chloraseptic or Cepacol lozenges
  • OTC zinc supplements or lozenges
  • decongestants
  • cough syrup
  • vitamin C
  • antihistamine

You can also shop online for humidifiers and hand sanitizers.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before adding any treatment options to your current healthcare regimen to avoid any potential negative interactions.

When it comes to a cold, you’ve got to accept that it’s happening and ride it out. The very best thing you can do is take actions to prevent a cold by:

  • washing your hands frequently with soap and water
  • avoiding any unnecessary physical contact where you could contract the virus
  • staying hydrated and well-rested

Finally, be mindful of how your health affects other people, especially those with compromised immune systems, and stay home when you’re contagious.


Brandi Koskie is the founder of Banter Strategy, where she serves as a content strategist and health journalist for dynamic clients. She’s got a wanderlust spirit, believes in the power of kindness, and works and plays in the foothills of Denver with her family.

Colds. What is important to know about it? – In the vast majority of cases, the common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, which leads to inflammation of the mucous membrane lining this part of the respiratory tract. – Articles about health

In the vast majority of cases, the common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, which leads to inflammation of the mucous membrane lining this part of the respiratory tract.

Common symptoms are rhinorrhea (runny nose), sneezing, pharyngitis (sore throat).
The viral infection we call the “cold” can often be treated without medication with rest, plenty of fluids, and some over-the-counter medications to help manage individual symptoms. So far, there are no drugs that are effective against pathogens of colds.

Smoking “helps” the development of a cold, including in the presence of children, as it paralyzes the ciliated cells (ciliated epithelium) that keep the airways clear. Colds can be spread through the hands, not just through the air. To prevent the spread of viruses, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with your hands, and wash your hands often when you are sick or in contact with a sick person.

Some other diseases are similar in symptoms to the common cold, but require immediate medical attention and special medicines. If you have a high fever (a temperature above 38.0°C) accompanied by chills and coughing up thick mucus, or if coughing and deep breathing causes severe chest pain, you may have pneumonia. You should immediately consult a doctor to establish a diagnosis and start appropriate treatment.

The safest, best, and cheapest way to treat a cold is to do almost nothing at all and let it go away on its own. If necessary, take medications to relieve individual symptoms.

How to treat a cold

Non-drug therapy

warm or hot), rest and to give up smoking. The only means that can in any way try to resist viruses are interferons (effective when used on the first – second day of illness – then useless) and CIP (Complex immunoglobulin preparation) – effective when taken with food during the first 3 – 5 days of illness .

In case of rhinorrhea (if the nose runs in a stream), it is not necessary to use medicines, but it is better to be patient, because with rhinorrhea the mucus is drained, expelling the infection from the body, so no drugs should be taken. However, if the rhinorrhea lasts more than a week, then consult a doctor.

For the same reason, it is not necessary to treat a productive cough (when something is brought out when coughing).

If symptoms cannot be controlled by these measures and these symptoms interfere with normal activities, the following safest and most effective remedies are recommended.

If your nose is stuffy, especially if you cannot breathe freely, use a nasal drop or spray containing oxymetazoline hydrochloride (eg AFRIN), xylometazoline hydrochloride (eg OTRIVIN NOSAL SPRAY), or phenylephrine hydrochloride (eg drops or nasal spray NEO-SYNEFRIN). But do not use them for more than three days.

No oral decongestants (tablets, syrups) should be used for nasal congestion. These medicines can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, they act excitingly and worsen the process of falling asleep. When using a spray or nasal drops for 1-3 days (no more), 25 times less of the drug enters your body and, moreover, it enters the nose, that is, where it is needed, and is not distributed throughout the body, as is the case with oral medication.

For fever, headaches and body aches, use aspirin or paracetamol if necessary (paracetamol is preferred in children).

Coughing is a necessary evil

The lungs are constantly cleaning themselves to ensure effective breathing. Normally, mucus lines the walls of the lungs and protects them from foreign particles (smoke, dust, viruses). The cilia of the ciliated epithelium expel mucus with adhering particles from the lungs. Coughing also helps to more quickly remove unwanted substances from the lungs.

Cough is beneficial as long as it removes unwanted substances such as phlegm (mucus) from the airways and lungs. Such a cough is called productive and often occurs with colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. On the other hand, a dry, hacking (unproductive) cough can be irritating and interfere with sleep. Cough can also be one of the symptoms of a chronic disease, such as asthma, or it can be caused by cigarette smoke.

A productive cough is part of the cold and flu recovery process. Every effort must be made to remove unwanted material from the lungs by “release” of sputum. This is the purpose of the expectorant, which thins the secretions so that they are more easily removed by coughing (expectoration). The best expectorant is water, especially in warm liquids such as soup, which loosens phlegm and helps moisten the airways. Humid environment also contributes to this. You should drink plenty of fluids and, if possible, humidify the air in the house with a humidifier or by evaporating water with a vaporizer. In winter, you can simply put a tray of water on the radiator. Doctors of the old school recommend, for the same purpose, the use of enzymes (mezim, panzinorm, festal) because of the pepsin they contain. Even if this is somehow incorrect from a modern scientific point of view, regarding coughing, then taking enzymes for colds is still useful, as it accelerates the recovery of the body, or rather the pancreas, which suffers from any cold (the so-called reactive pancreatitis).

Unproductive cough, dry cough that does not produce sputum, can be treated with antitussive drugs. For a cough that interferes with your normal sleep or greatly weakens the body, you can also use one of these remedies. One-component antitussive drugs should be used. Rest and plenty of fluids are also recommended in the treatment of cough.
Codeine, found in many prescription cough medicines, is not recommended for coughing. Codeine is addictive and may contribute to constipation.

When coughing, if the phlegm (mucus) becomes greenish, yellow or foul-smelling, if the cough is accompanied by high fever lasting several days, or if coughing or deep breathing causes severe chest pain or shortness of breath, seek medical advice . Any of these symptoms may indicate pneumonia. If you cough up blood, you should immediately consult a doctor.

Fever, headache and muscle pain The common cold is sometimes accompanied by fever, headache and muscle pain. These symptoms are best managed without medication, with rest and fluid intake, or with aspirin or paracetamol.

It is not recommended to give aspirin for fever to a patient under 40 years of age: he may have the flu, not a cold. People who take aspirin for the flu (or chickenpox) are at an increased risk of developing Reye’s syndrome. This is a rather rare but fatal disease, the victims of which, if they survive, remain disabled for life.
Seek medical attention if body temperature rises above 39.4°C or if fever above 38°C persists for more than four days. In these cases, the patient does not appear to have a cold.

Seek medical attention if:

  • Fever above 38.3°C accompanied by chills and cough with thick mucus (especially greenish or bad smell)
  • Sharp chest pain on deep inspiration
  • Cold-like symptoms that do not improve within seven days
  • Fever above 39,4 0 C
  • Hemoptysis
  • Sore throat with one of the following:
  1. Pus (yellowish white patches) on the tonsils or in the throat
  2. Fever above 38.3 0 C
  3. Enlarged or painful to the touch lymph nodes on the front of the neck
  4. Contact with a patient who has a documented case of tonsillitis or diphtheria
  5. Rash that appears during or after pharyngitis
  6. History of rheumatic fever, rheumatism of the cardiovascular system, kidney disease, chronic lung disease such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Why there is a “protracted” cough

Sometimes the above recipes “fail” – cough, malaise continues after 2 or more weeks from the onset of acute respiratory infections (colds). If this happens, you need to do tests and call a doctor.

In the vast majority of cases, this is an “attack” of a new infection on an organism weakened by a cold. These infections have different names and fight them in different ways. Most often, mycoplasma “attacks”, followed by cases of “aggression” of pneumocystis. Sometimes mycoplasma and pneumocysts combine and bring the patient to a constant temperature of 37-38 degrees, heavy sweating, poor sleep (cough keeps you awake, wakes you up), weakness (asthenia).

Less commonly, a persistent cough is caused by fungi (candida) or chlamydia (usually pulmonary). Another cause of such a cough can be tuberculosis. In infants, similar phenomena may occur due to cytomegalovirus.

Any of these infections, if not properly diagnosed and treated, can greatly impair the quality of life. Bronchitis is most common, but pneumonia can also develop. In the US, 40% of bronchitis in children is mycoplasmal. The main alarming symptom is a long-term (more than 2 weeks) persistent cough. Sometimes mycoplasma, pneumocyst, chlamydia and cytomegalovirus “stick” to children with bronchial asthma, asthmatic bronchitis – attacks become more frequent. After diagnosing and treating these infections, children forget about bronchial asthma for a long time.

The stability of these microorganisms in the external environment is low – they quickly die, so the main method of infection is close household contact. People can become infected with mycoplasmosis or pneumocystosis (less often chlamydia) in any “close” team – at work, at the institute, in kindergarten, at school, in the yard, on regular guests, from constantly coughing relatives.

“Candida” cough usually occurs as a consequence of immoderate or improper use of antibacterial drugs, such as Biseptol, Bactrim, Septrim, Ampicillin, Ampiox, etc.

In today’s economic and, consequently, social situation, tuberculosis, as a “disease of the poor”, can overtake you in public transport, in a shop, or at a train station. The only reassurance is that although there are many “contagious” people, it is quite difficult to get infected with short contact. It is better to start diagnosing tuberculosis at a polyclinic phthisiatrician or at a tuberculosis dispensary at the place of residence. In difficult cases, or if you do not want to go to the dispensary, you can use the possibilities of paid diagnostics – determining bacteria by PCR or detecting the level of antibodies to Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Diagnosis of mycoplasmosis, pneumocystosis, chlamydia, candidiasis and cytomegalovirus is quite difficult – there are no signs characteristic of only “one” disease, and the microbes themselves are so small that they cannot be detected with conventional microscopy. Mycoplasmosis, pneumocystosis, chlamydia, candidiasis, and cytomegalovirus infection (CMVI) are detected either by smears examined by DNA diagnostic methods, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), or by immunofluorescence (which is less reliable), or by examining blood from a vein for the presence of antibodies to these pathogens.

There are no “home” remedies for these diseases, but modern antibacterial drugs are highly effective – the cure rate reaches 95%.
Preventive measures. Without studying the immune status in the cold season, you can drink 2-3 courses of herbal adaptogens – ginseng, eleutherococcus. The drugs are taken in the morning and afternoon, and in the evening, to relieve daytime stress and improve sleep, we need soothing decoctions of herbs – valerian, motherwort.

In order not to get sick during an epidemic of viral diseases, in addition to vitamins and adaptogens, it is good to take homeopathic medicines Gripchel, Antigrippin, Influcid. A flu shot every year will protect you from the flu. Vaccination with influenza vaccine should be done before the onset of an influenza epidemic, so that immunity has time to develop. It makes no sense to get vaccinated against influenza in the midst of an epidemic, or when a person is already ill, since the vaccine will not protect against the disease.
For people who often suffer from otitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, there are drugs that protect against staphylococci, streptococci, Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella. This is Ribomunil, Bronchomunal. It is better to entrust the selection of a prevention scheme to a doctor.

If someone in the family falls ill, the rest should take preventive measures. It would be nice to spread finely chopped or crushed garlic on saucers in the apartment. You can put it in a pre-scalded teapot and breathe through the spout. Drink Tonsilgon or Antiseptin.

Inhalations of anti-inflammatory herbs – St. John’s wort, sage, eucalyptus or propolis inhalations – can also increase the body’s defenses. As an inhaler, you can use a regular teapot – brew the herb with boiling water and inhale through the spout. You can use ready-made preparations – oils, solutions and tinctures – eucalyptus, propolis, fir oil, “Evkabal”, “Doctor MOM”, “Bronchicum”. The most convenient inhaler is the Russian ultrasonic “Musson”.

Multivitamin preparations (Mul-Titabs, Unicap, Centrum and others) can be used as a prophylaxis for weakening the immune system. Yeast preparations (yeast extract “Favorite”, pangamin, etc.) have a good restorative effect. Multivitamin and yeast preparations are especially needed in autumn and spring, when a natural weakening of immunity occurs.

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how to recover, get rid of asthenic syndrome and gain strength after SARS and flu

Weakness after an illness is normal, because the body has spent a lot of energy fighting the infection. But if the feeling of fatigue does not go away even after rest, it occurs not only after physical, but also after mental activity, and is also combined with apathy, this is not weakness, but asthenic syndrome 1 . We figured out why it occurs, how to get rid of it and what to do so that it does not arise again.

Causes of weakness after illness

The exact cause of the appearance of asthenic syndrome after infection has not yet been established. But there are several suggestions why the weakness appears:

● Inflammation of brain tissue. The signal about the spread of the infection gets to the brain, which activates immunologically sensitive cells and the release of cytokines – special proteins that help fight the disease. An inflammatory reaction occurs in the brain, provoking asthenia 2 .

● Energy deficiency against the background of hypoxia – lack of oxygen in the blood. Hypoxia appears due to the accumulation of microbial toxins and intoxication with metabolic products, in particular oxidation reactions. Oxygen is absorbed worse by tissues, protein metabolism is disturbed, ammonia accumulates in the blood. This negatively affects the state of the central nervous system – nerve impulses are transmitted more slowly, it becomes more difficult for a person to do mental work and perform ordinary household chores 3 .

In addition, asthenia is also associated with the characteristics of the influenza virus. It suppresses the immune system and directly affects the cells of the nervous system – these features increase the risk of developing asthenic syndrome 4, 5 .

Antiviral drugs are indicated to fight influenza viruses. One of them is the modern drug Nobasit ® Forte containing enisamium iodide. 6 It effectively suppresses the action of influenza viruses and other pathogens of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI) 6 . Additionally, enisamia iodide has an anti-inflammatory effect comparable to that of ibuprofen 7 . It is recommended to start treatment with Nobasit ® Forte as early as possible – when the first symptoms of the disease appear 6 .

Symptoms of asthenic syndrome

Asthenic syndrome occurs due to the action of infection on brain cells. This is not just a weakness, but a neurological disorder. Problems in the work of the nervous system cause physical and emotional-psychological symptoms.

Physical symptoms of asthenic syndrome 8 :

● Increased fatigue;

● muscle weakness;

● loss of appetite;

● digestive disorders;

● Pain in joints and bones;

● nausea;

● abdominal pain;

● tachycardia 9 ;

● pain in the heart;

● increased sweating;

● decreased libido;

● menstrual disorders 10 ;

● periodic rise in body temperature.

The main problem of asthenic syndrome is the loss of working capacity. Mental or physical stress worsens a person’s condition, which causes anxiety and a feeling of powerlessness 11 .

Due to damage to the nervous system, neurological symptoms occur 12 :

● headache;

● meteorological dependence 13 ;

● heaviness and pressure in the head;

● dizziness;

● sudden mood swings;

● tearfulness;

● problems with self-control;

● restlessness and impatience;

● sleep disturbance – insomnia, early awakening or drowsiness, including daytime;

● photophobia;

● intolerance to loud sounds;

● increased sensitivity to touch;

● decrease in memory and attention;

● Anxiety.

The most common symptoms are fatigue, which occurs in 58% of patients after the flu, and headache, in 44% of patients. Violation of attention and other manifestations are much less common 14 .

Typically, symptoms persist for four weeks to seven months. The duration depends on the severity of the disease 15 .

How to restore strength

You can start rehabilitation from asthenic syndrome on your own. If self-help methods do not help, you should consult a doctor – he will prescribe physiotherapy and drugs for recovery.

Self-help methods

It is difficult for patients with asthenia to endure physical activity, but it is recommended to start recovery with it. Scientists believe that physical inactivity aggravates the course of asthenia, and studies 16 prove the benefits of treatment with dosed physical activity. Gradually increasing the load, the patient will feel better and restore activity 17 .

It is worth starting the recovery with walking, while monitoring the pulse. There are 3 walking modes:

● gentle — up to 1 km;

● gentle training — up to 1.5 km;

● training — up to 3 km.

You need to start from the first, gradually moving to higher levels. The mode is changed taking into account well-being and a conversational test:

● if a person easily pronounces a whole sentence, then the intensity level is low and you need to increase the intensity of walking;

● if in the second sentence a person has slight shortness of breath, then the level of intensity of walking is chosen correctly;

● In cases where the practitioner can only speak one or a few words, the intensity level is high, and it is better to reduce the intensity of walking 18 .

Additionally, nutritional treatment, that is, diet therapy, is connected. It helps to restore strength after suffering the flu 19 . You need to eat 4-5 times a day.

The diet should be low in calories and high in protein. Fast carbohydrates are excluded from the menu: sugar, confectionery, carbonated drinks and store juices, hot sauces, marinade, canned food and pickles. Vegetables with a lot of coarse fiber, such as radishes, radishes, legumes, garlic and horseradish, are also not recommended 20 .

Recommended daily KBJU for asthenic syndrome:

● 20–30 kcal/kg;

● not less than 0.83 g of protein per 1 kg of weight;

● 80–85 g of fat;

● 350-400 g of carbohydrates.

It is also important to observe the drinking regimen. It is recommended to drink at least 1.5-2 liters of fluid per day.

What a doctor can prescribe

Diet therapy and physical activity are recommended to be combined with psychotherapy. It is better to choose cognitive behavioral therapy, as the effectiveness of this method has been proven in clinical trials. It helps people re-motivate and relieve symptoms of fatigue 21 .

In other trials, sensory therapy shows a positive effect. This is an art therapy that combines healing with music, aromas and color. This option of unloading improves the psychological and emotional state, reduces anxiety, eliminates apathy and sleep problems 22 .

Physiotherapy helps to get rid of asthenic syndrome 23 :

● hydrotherapy — swimming, contrast shower, Charcot shower;

● therapeutic gymnastics;

● breathing exercises using respiratory simulators;

● massage;

● acupuncture;

● hyperbaric oxygen – high pressure oxygen breathing 24 ;

● low-frequency, high-frequency pulsed magnetotherapy;

● drug electrophoresis;

● treatment with sinusoidal modulated currents;

● Ultrasound therapy;

● laser therapy;

● Normobaric interval hypoxic-hyperoxic training – alternating breathing with large and small amounts of oxygen 25 .

Treatment is carried out within six months after recovery from influenza.

Separately consider vitamin therapy. According to the study, vitamin D deficiency is often observed in patients with asthenic syndrome. One month after the start of taking 100,000 IU of vitamin D, the symptoms of depression and anxiety become less pronounced 26 . It is also recommended to take vitamin B6 27 , C and P 28 , as well as multivitamins 29 .

To alleviate the symptoms of asthenia, medicines are also used:

● acetyl-L-carnitine 30 — a substance that can protect nerve cells from damage and restore them;

● magnesium preparations 31 ;

● nootropics – drugs that improve brain metabolism 32 ;

● adaptogens – substances that enhance the body’s ability to resist stress and toxic substances;

● neuroprotectors – drugs that protect nerve cells from the action of internal and external damaging factors;

● Antioxidants – substances that prevent free radical damage to cells 33 .

An integrated approach to treatment will help to quickly restore strength and get rid of asthenic syndrome.

Prevention of re-infection with influenza

The most effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu is to get 34 vaccination. General prevention of viral diseases is divided into drug – with the help of drugs, and non-drug – without them.

How to protect yourself from the flu without medication:

● treat the air with low doses of ozone using the ozonator 35 ;

● regularly ventilate the room 36 ;

● use antiseptics;

● Wear masks and other personal protective equipment in crowded places.

For more effective prevention during periods of high incidence, drugs are used:

● antiseptics, which wash off the causative agents of SARS from the nose and throat;

● leukocyte interferons – artificial proteins that work like natural human immune substances, but can cause side effects;

● Interferon inducers 37 – increase the production of their own interferons and increase immunity.

Briefly about the main

➢ Asthenic syndrome is a weakness after an illness that does not go away even after rest and occurs after mental or minor physical activity.

➢ Asthenic syndrome occurs due to systemic inflammation, decreased immunity, virus damage to brain cells and energy deficiency against the background of hypoxia.

➢ The symptoms of asthenic syndrome are physical, for example, fatigue, pain in the abdomen and heart, as well as neurological – they include dizziness, anxiety, apathy, mood swings and others.

➢ To restore strength after an illness, vitamin therapy, diet therapy, physiotherapy and taking various groups of drugs helps.

➢ For the prevention of SARS and influenza, it is recommended to wear masks, ozonize and regularly ventilate the room. Medical methods of prevention include the use of antiseptics, as well as other drugs – for example, interferons and interferon inducers.


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