Each of us has come across a diagnosis of ARVI more than once in our lives. This abbreviation stands for Acute Respiratory Viral Infection. In the people, the disease is simply called a cold.
ARVI unites a number of inflammatory diseases, which are characterized by the following symptoms:
- the causative agent is a virus;
- airborne infection route;
- primary damage to the respiratory system;
- the rapid development and acute course of the disease, which itself lasts for a relatively short time.
What you need to know about the disease:
- ARVI is provoked by parainfluenza viruses, rhinoviruses, reoviruses, adenoviruses and many others, more than 200 species in total.
- All of them are easily transmitted by airborne droplets, as well as through skin contact. From the moment of infection to the development of the disease, a relatively short time passes, about 2 days.
- When breathing and sneezing, patients release pathogens into the air, which enter the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract of healthy people, settle there and begin to produce toxins. They spread throughout the body and cause general intoxication, manifested in the form of headaches, fever, aches in joints and muscles. Respiratory symptoms also occur: runny nose, cough, sore throat.
- In the acute period of the development of the disease, a person feels overwhelmed, unable to work fully.
Most often, children get sick with ARVI, since their immune system is still being formed. The disease can be quite difficult, complications often arise. Adults, as a rule, get sick less often, sometimes their temperature does not even rise. But if ARVI was diagnosed several times per season, you need to sound the alarm. You should consult a doctor and undergo additional examinations.
Many do not take this viral disease seriously, carry it on their feet, continue to go to work even when the temperature rises. However, you should not neglect a viral infection. First, a sick person infects others. Secondly, ARVI on the legs is fraught with serious complications, such as otitis media, sinusitis, myocarditis, pneumonia, meningitis, that is, a bacterial infection develops on the basis of a viral infection. Treatment of these diseases is long and expensive, hospitalization is often indicated. ARVI is especially dangerous for people who have chronic diseases, weakened immunity, work hard and eat poorly.
How many days does ARVI last? Usually, the acute period of a viral disease passes after 3-4 days, the symptoms gradually disappear, the sore throat disappears, and the runny nose decreases. But if, after 7 days from the onset of the disease, the symptomatology continues to remain pronounced, the appearance of a complication is possible. The virus actively multiplies in the respiratory tract, inhibiting the ciliated epithelium, which acts as a kind of lung filter. Therefore, during this period, other viruses and bacteria can freely enter the lungs and other organs. Often, complications pass without any symptoms, but they are doubly insidious, since they greatly reduce immunity.
After ARVI, doctors can state the development of many serious diseases.
- The most common diagnosis is bronchitis, an inflammatory process in the bronchi. It is accompanied by a deep cough, shortness of breath, increased sweating. In this case, the temperature does not always rise, and the cough, at first dry, tearful, eventually turns into wet. In extreme cases, purulent bronchitis develops.
- Sinusitis is an inflammation of the maxillary sinuses. Suspicion of it arises when the patient complains of aching headache, persistent nasal congestion, disturbed nasal breathing, discharge. The temperature is kept at 37 °. If left untreated, the infection can spread further, which is especially dangerous for children. In adults, an acute condition can become chronic.
- One of the most dangerous complications is pneumonia, inflammation of the lung tissue. Its symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) are similar to bronchitis, but the temperature lasts longer, there is a general loss of strength. To confirm the suspicion of pneumonia, an X-ray examination is prescribed. The treatment takes a very long time, strong antibiotics are used, hospitalization is indicated.
- Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium). Often occurs even after acute respiratory viral infection, proceeding in a mild form. Manifested by general weakness, shortness of breath, heart rhythm disturbances. Without proper treatment, it threatens chronic heart disease.
- When an infection from the nose moves to the side of the ear, otitis media, an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the middle ear and eardrum, may appear. In the acute period, severe pain occurs, the temperature rises. Without proper treatment, hearing deteriorates, and if the auditory nerve is damaged, it can disappear completely.
- A dangerous complication of ARVI is pyelonephritis - an inflammatory process in the kidneys, the characteristic signs of which are pain in the lumbar region. However, in adults, the disease can go away without symptoms. It is diagnosed by urine analysis showing an increased content of leukocytes.
- Meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain or spinal cord, can be a deadly complication.
Preparing for the visit / visit to the doctor
If ARVI develops in children, parents call a doctor at home or go to a clinic. But most adults ignore the common cold. At best, they are treated at home, at worst - on the advice of friends or TV advertisements, they take medications and continue to go to work. As a result, through the fault of self-prescribed drugs, chronic pathologies, complications, allergies, and intestinal disorders arise.
SARS is not as safe as it seems due to its effects. Doctors strongly recommend fighting it under the supervision of specialists and not self-medicating.
Colds are especially insidious in relation to the elderly and people with chronic diseases. SARS is caused by different viruses, in each case manifesting themselves differently. Only a doctor is capable of making an accurate diagnosis and choosing the correct treatment regimen. A person can call a therapist at home if he cannot come to an appointment due to the following symptoms:
- temperatures 38 ° and above;
- cumulative signs of SARS and influenza during epidemics;
- severe pain in the spine and joints;
- high or low blood pressure, dizziness;
- severe nausea and vomiting, diarrhea.
If the temperature is below 38 °, but the patient cannot come to the hospital for the reasons listed above, he also has the right to call a doctor at home with ARVI.
During the examination at home or in the clinic, the doctor asks the patient about the symptoms, how long the temperature is, measures the pressure, palpates the abdomen and peripheral lymph nodes, examines the skin, mucous membranes, taps and listens to the chest, heart, and measures the respiratory rate.
Diagnostics of ARVI
Doctors diagnose ARVI based on the patient's complaints and visual examination. Additionally, urine and blood tests are prescribed. Hospitalization is usually not required. If a person follows the doctor's recommendations, at home the infection recedes quite quickly. Since the incidence of ARVI is most often epidemic in nature, doctors do not try to identify a specific pathogen.
At the diagnostic stage, it is important not to confuse ARVI with influenza, since the symptoms are very similar.
- Usually ARVI develops gradually.
- Initially, there is a general weakness, a feeling of weakness, a runny nose, sore throat, hoarseness appear almost immediately, a headache may occur and the temperature rises.
- Influenza, unlike SARS, always begins very acutely, with intense headache, high fever, sore eyes, severe aching joints and muscles.
- Often a person cannot get out of bed due to weakness and dizziness.
- Only a few days later, when the pains pass and the temperature decreases, a runny nose or cough (catarrhal manifestations) appears.
In any case, if you have the above symptoms, you cannot engage in self-diagnosis. You need to see a doctor.
How to treat ARVI
For ARVI, bed rest is recommended. Drink plenty of fluids. If the temperature rises above 38.5 °, antipyretic drugs must be taken. The rest of the medications must be prescribed by a doctor.
With ARVI, antibiotics are not prescribed. They do not work against viruses, but only overload the liver. The use of such drugs is advisable if a bacterial develops against the background of a viral infection.
- The main recommendation of doctors for ARVI is to drink a lot to prevent dehydration. The mucous membranes perform an important function - they take the first blow, trapping viruses. If the mucous membrane is too dry, it cannot do its job, and viruses enter the body again and again. Mucus in the nose, phlegm in the bronchi - this is also a protective reaction of the body. For the formation of these substances, moisture is also required, if it is not enough, you should not even count on a quick recovery. Moisture is also lost as the temperature rises. For colds, it is advised to drink at least two liters of liquid per day: warm herbal teas, fruit drinks, compotes. You shouldn't drink alcohol, coffee and soda, because they have the opposite effect - they remove liquid.
- It is important to control the humidity in the room. In apartments with centralized heating, this indicator sometimes drops to 15–20%, which leads to drying out of the mucous membrane. For the same purpose, it is recommended to rinse the nose with isotonic (0.9%) saline solution, as well as gargle the throat, since salt has the property of retaining moisture.
- If the general condition is poor, the head and throat are very sore, with ARVI, you can take inexpensive drugs based on ibuprofen or paracetamol, which also have the property of lowering the temperature.
- It is recommended to ventilate the room more often, because viruses actively multiply in a dry and warm environment. It is better to stay at home for several days, to give the body an opportunity to direct all its forces to fight the virus. A cold on the legs will stretch the time of the illness, and this threatens with complications.
- Pregnant women should be especially careful about their health. At the first symptoms of ARVI, you should consult a doctor. Self-medication is strictly prohibited. Indeed, some drugs, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, are dangerous for the baby.
Doctors warn about the dangers of taking even the most effective antiviral drugs for ARVI without the recommendation of a therapist. This does not always give the desired result, and side effects are quite possible.
How to cure ARVI with home remedies
There are many folk remedies for dealing with colds, many of them are very effective. However, today they do not always work on their own, since viruses mutate and adapt very quickly.
Doctors support grandmother's advice to drink tea with raspberries, milk with honey and butter. Drinking warm drinks for colds is highly desirable. Ginger effectively fights viruses. Tea with ginger, honey and lemon is an excellent warming agent in the cold season. It strengthens the immune system, has diaphoretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Myths and dangerous misconceptions in the treatment of ARVI
- It is not necessary to knock down the temperature in the range of 37–38.5 °. It testifies that a natural defense mechanism has turned on, the immune system has begun to work.
- Inhalation is recommended, but today it is better to use not a pot of boiled potatoes for this, but safe modern inhalers bought at a pharmacy.
- It makes no sense to use cans and mustard plasters, since no one has been able to prove their effectiveness. For warming up (in the absence of elevated temperature!), It is better to use pharmacy ointments and dry heat.
- Do not bury undiluted onion and garlic juice into the nose, this will cause a burn to the nasopharynx. Although these plants themselves are very useful because they contain phytoncides.
- It is believed that after an illness, immunity to colds is developed, however, ARVI is a group of respiratory diseases, the causative agents of which are different viruses and their strains. Having been ill once, you can soon get sick again if the infection has occurred with another virus. In addition, these agents change very quickly, so the immune system has no time to adapt. However, proper nutrition, rich in vitamins and minerals, adequate physical activity, walking in the fresh air and a positive attitude can strengthen the immune system and resist viral infections.
- During epidemics, doctors recommend that children and people with weakened immune systems limit visits to public places. In schools, quarantine is quite reasonable for this.
- Adults who are forced to go to work, to shops for shopping, to ride on public transport are advised to wash their hands more often with soap, use a disinfectant spray.
- It also does not hurt to rinse the nose with an isotonic solution of sea or ordinary table salt.
- Prepare in advance for cold season. Doctors recommend adhering to the principles of a healthy diet, eating enough vegetables and fruits, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, and sleeping for at least 8 hours.
- Tempering is a very effective means of preventing ARVI. It helps to increase the adaptive properties of the body. In hardened people, there is a faster reaction of vessels to cold, higher heat production and a range of temperature activity. Their blood circulation improves, their metabolism is normalized.
- It is important to maintain optimal air humidity in the home at all times, and not only during illness. In city apartments, during the heating season, doctors recommend using humidifiers to increase it to at least 60%, especially in the children's room.
Since ARVI is caused by different viruses, there is no universal vaccine for the common cold yet. But against certain types of pathogens, effective drugs are developed annually. In the fall, it is recommended to get vaccinated against influenza, doctors always predict quite accurately what type of virus will prevail during the epidemic season. However, it should be noted: vaccination does not guarantee that you will not get sick at all, nevertheless, the disease will be much easier.