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The Common Cold


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Basics on the topic The Common Cold

What is the Common Cold?

Have you ever had a cough or sore throat? Have you felt weak or had to blow your nose frequently? These are symptoms of the common cold. Have you ever talked about colds in elementary school?

The common cold is a disease caused by viruses (pathogens). Colds are widespread and often run their course harmlessly. Cold viruses are everywhere, but most of the time you don't get sick because of them. So, how does a cold develop? What are the symptoms, and how does your body fight pathogens?

The Common Cold – Symptoms

Symptoms, explained for children, are signs of illness which indicate that you are suffering from the common cold. The following symptoms may occur individually or together:

Symptoms Explanation
Chills You are cold and can shiver.
Sore throat Your throat hurts. You may notice this, especially when swallowing or speaking.
Runny nose Your nose is running, and you have to blow it frequently.
Cough You have a dry or phlegm-based cough.
Sneezing You have to sneeze frequently.
Pressure in the head A feeling of pressure can lead to headaches or difficulty concentrating.

Your body fights the pathogens to get rid of the cold quickly. The immune system is responsible for this.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is an important body function. It is the inner defense system of the body that fights viruses and bacteria and protects you from getting sick. More specifically, your immune cells fight viruses and other pathogens and make sure that you don't get sick every time another child in your class has a cold.

Your immune system stores information about pathogens it has already fought against. This allows it to protect you better and better. That's why there are also vaccinations. They train your immune system to gather information on illnesses without making you sick.

Lack of sleep, prolonged stress, or unhealthy diet can have a negative impact on your immune system. This can make you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses and cause you to get a cold, for example.

How does the Common Cold develop?

Although your immune system tries hard, sometimes you catch a cold anyway. This is completely normal and can also happen when your immune system is very strong. The risk of catching the common cold is particularly high in spring, fall, and winter. But why is this more frequent during these seasons?

Does Cold Weather Cause the Common Cold?

Common colds are caused by cold viruses. Cold weather cannot cause a cold! Nevertheless, the seasons and weather play an important role. When it's cold, the air is drier. As a result, viruses can multiply particularly well. At the same time, dry air affects the mucous membranes, for example in the nose. They also dry out due to the cold air and cannot protect you as well against the common cold in winter. In addition, the body is not as well perfused at low temperatures. This means that the immune cells do not work as well and cannot fight cold viruses as effectively.

To protect yourself and others, there are hygiene measures you can take. They ensure that viruses do not spread as easily. Regular handwashing is particularly helpful, as is sneezing or coughing into your elbow, and wearing a mask if you or others around you have a cold. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after blowing your nose with a tissue.

The picture shows what to consider when washing your hands:


What Can You Do Against the Common Cold?

When you have a cold, rest and relaxation are the most important things. This allows your body to gather strength, and you will usually recover quickly. In addition, you should drink plenty of water. Warm tea can also be soothing with a cold. You can also support your immune system by eating vitamin-rich and nutritious foods. This can be things like a delicious soup, fresh fruit, or a whole wheat sandwich.

There are no direct medications for cold viruses. However, if cold symptoms are particularly strong or uncomfortable, medication can be taken to alleviate these symptoms. A doctor can help you with this. Remember to ask your parents before taking any medication.

Be sure to take a look at our interactive exercises, worksheets, and activities on the common cold.

Transcript The Common Cold

Psst, today we're going to talk about things that are so small they can be found on the metro... on the bench at the park... on a shopping cart at the store... and even lurk inside your body without you being able to see them! We're talking about viruses that cause the... common cold. But wait, don't worry! There are hygiene practices that you can do to protect yourself and others from getting sick. You can wash your hands regularly... sneeze or cough into your elbow... and wear a mask if you or others around you are sick. But what happens if that doesn't work? Well, then you still have your immune system! Every day your immune system fights against invaders like the common cold virus and protects you from getting sick! Of course the virus and immune system look different in real life. And everything is so small that we can't see anything without a tool like a microscope. The immune system remembers every enemy it's had to fight before. So, it gets better and better at protecting you! And if we want to train the immune system without getting sick, we use vaccines. But, even though your immune system works hard, sometimes there are too many viruses to fight off at once and you catch a cold. You can feel this by specific signs of illness called symptoms. In the beginning you might feel a little cold... and your throat might hurt. Then you usually catch a cold, and need to cough and sneeze. The mucus you cough up or that sometimes comes out of your nose can infect others. So it's important that it ends up in a tissue and that you ALWAYS wash your hands after blowing your nose. Another symptom could be a headache. But how DO you get rid of a cold? One way is to drink a lot. Liquids like water, warm tea with honey, and juice can help. Your body also needs a lot of rest when you are sick. Medicine can sometimes help you to feel better, but doesn't always get rid of the sickness... So, before you take medicine, make sure to ask your parents. But, mostly your immune system has to work hard to get rid of the virus. You can help your immune system by eating food that has lots of vitamins and nutrients. For example chicken noodle soup! Some people also say that a cold comes in three days, stays for three days, and starts to go away for three days. Which means most people feel better after nine to ten days. As you can see, everyone gets a cold sooner or later... and as long as you take care of your body and rest, a cold is usually not a problem. Then you'll usually be happy and healthy again in no time!

  1. I love this..!!!!!!!!!

    From Avash Acharya, 3 months ago
  2. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    From Jaylum, 7 months ago
  3. so easy

    From Averie, about 1 year ago

    From Aleena, about 1 year ago
  5. it is easy

    From Allison, about 1 year ago
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The Common Cold exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video The Common Cold.
  • What are some of the symptoms of the common cold?


    If the symptom is a headache, where would that go on the body?

    A sore throat is pain felt in the throat.

    What usually comes out from your nose when you have a cold?

    When you have the common cold, you may feel cold all over.

    • He has a headache on his head.
    • He has a sore throat on his throat.
    • He has mucus coming out of his nose.
    • He feels cold on his body.
  • What should Zuri do?


    Zuri should cover her nose and mouth.

    Zuri should keep her hands clean.

    Zuri should make sure to sneeze into her elbow.


    To stop the spread of Zuri's cold she can:

    • Wear a mask
    • Sneeze into her elbow
    • Wash or disinfect her hands

  • Fill in the blanks with the correct answers.


    Wearing a mask, sneezing into your sleeve and washing your hands are good hygiene practices.

    Treatment options for the common cold include drinking fluids, getting rest, and eating foods with vitamins and nutrients.


    When Yeti goes shopping he should wear a mask. He can hope to recover in 9-10 days. To feel better he will need plenty of rest. Medicine might help him feel better, but he should ask his parent. He can also eat foods that have lots of vitamins and nutrients.

  • Find the matching pairs


    The immune system fights infections.

    Microscopic viruses that make us sick can only be seen through a microscope.


    Signs of illness - symptoms

    Fighters of infection - the immune system

    They are microscopic, yet make us sick - viruses

    A tool that makes viruses visible - microscope

  • Which are symptoms of the common cold?


    When you catch the common cold virus, in the beginning you might feel a little cold.

    Your throat might also hurt when you have the common cold.

    If you catch a cold, you may cough and sneeze.

    • She feels cold
    • Her throat hurts
    • She has a cough
  • Highlight the errors in the statements below.


    The immune system fights off viruses, but may not be able to if there are too many.

    We can help our immune system by eating nutritious foods, drinking fluids and getting plenty of rest.

    Vaccines help train the immune system.


    The answers in bold are incorrect and the ones in (parenthesis) are correct.

    1.The common cold is caused by a kind of bacteria (virus).

    2.Viruses can be seen through a telescope (microscope) as they live in space (everywhere).

    3.The immune system can fight off most viruses except when they are too many.

    4.(Vaccines) Medicines help train the immune system without getting sick.