In ayurveda, 50% medicine is correct diagnosis itself. It is not difficult to treat any disease, once correctly diagnosed. Many a time, a patient faces difficulties due to incorrect diagnosis. Cough and cold are considered very ordinary illnesses encountered frequently. But this ordinary looking cold sometimes assumes serious proportion. It is always easier to control and cure a disease when it is in starting state. Ignoring the common symptoms can give rise to a chronic disease later. The cough and cold commonly occurs during monsoon and winter seasons. Viral infection or allergy is the `diagnosis' of modern science, and knowing it in advance, patients try to take anti-biotic or NSAIDs (non steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs) based on previous experience! They are causing serious damage to their gastro intestinal track this way. Elimination of dark yellow or green mucous through nose for about 10 days with fatigue is the symptom of Viral infection; while allergic cold gives clear watery discharge through nose, swelling/inflammation in nose, eyes and throat. Allergic cold prolongs for full season.
One must find the reasons of disease first. Change of residence from one city to another, or visiting a number of places where fast wind blows or cold damp weather, can also cause cold. The common cold, strikes when the body's digestive fire or "agni" is dampened due to cold or moist weather. The dampened Agni reduces immunity and fails to burn body toxins or "ama" fully. The "ama" accumulates, clogging the micro-channels of the body and generating phlegm. Phlegm, combined with toxins or "ama" makes mucus. Results: Sneezes and wet handkerchiefs!
When loose motions caused by indigestion are forceful stopped, this can give rise to cold. Urinary track diseases and heavy lunch followed by sleep during day, or remaining awake up to late night can also cause cold. Taking too hot or too cold foods, drinking water in different cities during tour can also give rise to cold. It is necessary to know whether cold is due to allergy or caused by Vata driving ama out.
Itching and inflammation of nose during early morning, sneezes, watery reddish eyes, reddish nose, hoarse voice, itching/swelling/reddishness in throat are common cold symptoms. The symptoms reduce after taking suppressive medicines offered by modern medical science, but repeat after few days. Again a fresh dose of medicines control the symptoms but cause fatigue, inflammation. The strength weakens, weight drops, mood less state develops, so pending activities increase. Even slight dust entering nose, or cold wind hitting head, or moving in strong sun for a long time can cause another attack of cold. Such changes are also observed when season changes. Kapha and pitta unbalance causes itching and inflammation respectively. The mucous membrane inside the nose swells, becomes reddish and causes itching. In all such cases, care must be taken to take preventive actions since beginning. The cold attacks then reduce in intensity or stop.
Common cold causes heavy feeling in body, inflammation/pains in hands and feet, frequent sneezes, dripping nose, hoarseness in voice. Swelling on nose is a rare observation. Such cold gets cured in a week automatically. If it extends beyond a week, it must be treated properly. If left unattended, it can result in chronic serious disease. The cold attacks become more intense when patient is already weak due to other reasons.
Emotional stress reduces immunity and invites attacks of cold frequently, especially in children. When school going children receive ear-pinch from parents due to weak performance in studies, cold attacks are often seen. However, such children are smart, intelligent and sensitive. Worries, depression, excess work, lack of sleep are also reasons for cold attacks.