Common Cold pp 23-45 | Cite as

Mechanisms of symptoms of common cold and flu

  • Ronald Eccles
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)


It is the familiar symptoms of sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion, muscle aches, chilliness and fever, etc., that define the common cold and flu syndromes as self-diagnosed illnesses. Although there is much information about the molecular biology of the viruses that cause the common cold and flu syndromes, there is relatively little research on the immunological, physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms involved in generating the symptoms. This chapter studies the mechanisms that cause local symptoms associated with local inflammation of the airway (sore throat, sneezing, rhinorrhoea and purulent nasal discharge, nasal congestion, sinus pain, watery eyes and cough), and the mechanisms that cause systemic symptoms associated with release of cytokines from leukocytes (headache, chilliness and fever, psychological effects, malaise and mood changes, loss of appetite, and muscle aches and pains).


Sore Throat Common Cold Nasal Congestion Nasolacrimal Duct Sickness Behaviour 
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© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Eccles
    • 1
  1. 1.Common Cold Centre, Cardiff School of BiosciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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