Colds Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Colds article.

Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

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Adenovirus: One of a group of viruses that can cause infections of the lung, stomach, inte...

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Airway: The path that air follows to get into and out of the lungs. The mouth and nose are...

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Antibiotic: A drug used to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viral...

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Antiviral: An agent that kills a virus or that suppresses its ability to replicate and, he...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chills: feelings of coldness accompanied by shivering. Chills may develop after exposure t...

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Clostridium: A group of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that thrive in the absence of oxygen)...

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Clostridium difficile: A bacterium that is one of the most common causes of infection of t...

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Common cold: A contagious viral upper respiratory tract infection. The common cold can be ...

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Congestion: An abnormal or excessive accumulation of a body fluid. The term is used broadl...

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Contagious: capable of being transmitted from one human to another human via direct or ind...

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Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contra...

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Coronavirus: One of a group of RNA viruses, so named because they look like a corona or ha...

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Coryza: A head cold that includes a runny nose.

Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Cough suppressant: A drug used to control coughing, particularly with a dry, nagging, unpr...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Decongestant: A drug that shrinks the swollen membranes in the nose, making it easier for ...

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Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that cau...

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Dextromethorphan: An oral cough suppressant available in the US without a prescription but...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Ear: The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy tex...

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Echinacea: An herb that has been claimed to boost the body's immune system and help fight ...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Expectorant: A medication that helps bring up mucus and other material from the lungs, bro...

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Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after concep...

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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37...

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Ginger: Ginger, the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, has been used as medicine in...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart rate: The number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. The heart rate ...

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Herbal: 1. An adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
2. A...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Humidifier: A machine that puts moisture into the air. Humidified air makes it easier to b...

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Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Influenza: Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses Mo...

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Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number ...

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Larynx: A tube-shaped organ in the neck that contains the vocal cords. The larynx is about...

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Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Mucus: A thick fluid that is produced by the lining of some organs of the body.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Nasal: Having to do with the nose.

Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, c...

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OB/GYN: A commonly used abbreviation. OB is short for obstetrics or for an obstetrician, ...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneum...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Prostate: A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the blad...

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Recur: To occur again; to return. For example, a symptom, sign, or disease can recur.

Reflex: An involuntary reaction. For example, the corneal reflex is the blink that occurs ...

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Respiratory: Having to do with respiration.

Respiratory syncytial virus: A virus that causes mild respiratory infections, colds, and c...

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Rhinitis: Irritation of the nose.

RSV: RSV in clinical medicine is the abbreviation for respiratory syncytial virus. See: Re...

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Runny nose: The production of extra mucus by the nose. Rhinorrhea is the medical term for ...

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Saline: Relating to salt. As an adjective, "saline" means "salty, containing salt." As a n...

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Sense of smell: See Olfaction.

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Sinus: 1. An air-filled cavity in a dense portion of a skull bone. The sinuses decr...

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Sinusitis: Inflammation of the lining membrane in any of the hollow areas (sinuses) of the...

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, inclu...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. The...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Taste: A perception that results from stimulation of a gustatory nerve. Taste belongs to t...

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Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied ...

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Trachea: A tube-like portion of the respiratory tract that connects the larynx with the br...

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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tub...

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Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Upper respiratory infection: An infection of the upper part of the respiratory system whic...

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Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

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Vaccines: Microbial preparations of killed or modified microorganisms that can stimulate a...

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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, if a person has a viral rash, the rash wa...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Vitamin C: An essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The body requires ...

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Zinc: A mineral that is essential to the body and is a constituent of many enzymes that pe...

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Medical Dictionary