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Cold and Flu Glossary

Terms used to explain Cold & Flu can sometimes be confusing. To help you fully understand the articles and features related to this very important health topic, we have compiled a glossary of terms that can help.

Allergy

al*ler*gy
Pronunciation: \ˈal-ər-jē\


Function: noun
pl -gies

1: altered bodily reactivity (as hypersensitivity) to an antigen in response to a first exposure <his bee-venom allergy may render a second sting fatal>
2: exaggerated or pathological reaction (as by sneezing, respiratory embarrassment, itching, or skin rashes) to substances, situations, or physical states that are without comparable effect on the average individual
3: medical practice concerned with allergies

Analgesic

1an*al*ge*sic
Pronunciation: \-ˈjē-zik, -sik\


Function: adjective
: relating to, characterized by, or producing analgesia

Antihistamine

1an*ti*his*ta*mine
Pronunciation: \ˌant-i-ˈhis-tə-ˌmēn, ˌan-ˌtī-, -mən\


Function: adjective
: tending to block or counteract the physiological action of histamine <human blood lacks antihistamine[1] activity>

Bronchiolitis

bron*chi*ol*itis
Pronunciation: \-ō-ˈlīt-əs\


Function: noun
: inflammation of the bronchioles

Bronchitis

bron*chi*tis
Pronunciation: \brän-ˈkīt-əs, bräŋ-\
Function: noun
1: acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes; also: a disease marked by this

Croup

croup
Pronunciation: \ˈkrüp\


Function: noun
: inflammation, edema, and subsequent obstruction of the larynx, trachea, and bronchi esp. of infants and young children that is typically caused by a virus and is marked by episodes of difficult breathing and hoarse metallic cough

Decongestant

de*con*ges*tant
Pronunciation: \ˌdē-kən-ˈjes-tənt\
Function: noun
1: an agent that relieves congestion (as of mucous membranes)

Echinacea

ech*i*na*cea
Pronunciation: \ˌek-i-ˈnā-sē-ə, -sh(ē-)ə\


Function: noun
: the dried rhizome, roots, or other part of any of three composite herbs (Echinacea angustifolia,E. pallida, and E. purpurea) that were formerly listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia, that are now used primarily in dietary supplements and herbal remedies, and that are held to stimulate the immune system; also: any of these herbs see purple coneflower

Expectorant

1ex*pec*to*rant
Pronunciation: \ik-ˈspek-t(ə-)rənt\


Function: adjective
: having the activity of an expectorant

Humidifier

hu*mid*i*fi*er
Pronunciation: \hyü-ˈmid-ə-ˌfī(-ə)r, yü-\
Function: noun
1: a device for supplying or maintaining humidity

Mucus

mu*cus
Pronunciation: \ˈmyü-kəs\



Function: noun
: a viscid slippery secretion that is usu. rich in mucins and is produced by mucous membranes which it moistens and protects

Pneumonia

pneu*mo*nia
Pronunciation: \n(y)u-ˈmō-nyə\
Function: noun
1: a disease of the lungs that is characterized esp. by inflammation and consolidation of lung tissue followed by resolution, is accompanied by fever, chills, cough, and difficulty in breathing, and is caused chiefly by infection see bronchopneumonia lobar pneumonia primary atypical pneumonia

RSV

RSV
Function: abbreviation

1 respiratory syncytial virus
2 Rous sarcoma virus

Sore Throat

sore throat
Function: noun
: painful throat due to inflammation of the fauces and pharynx

Strep Throat

strep throat
Function: noun
: an inflammatory sore throat caused by hemolytic streptococci and marked by fever, prostration, and toxemia —called also septic sore throat, strep sore throat

Swine Flu

swine flu
Function: noun
: see: swine influenza

Vaccine

vac*cine
Pronunciation: \vak-ˈsēn, ˈvak-ˌ\


Function: noun

1: matter or a preparation containing the virus of cowpox used to vaccinate a person against smallpox
2: a preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease <chicken pox vaccine> ; also: a mixture of several such vaccines <measles-mumps-rubella vaccine>

Zinc

zinc
Pronunciation: \ˈziŋk\


Function: noun
: a bluish white crystalline bivalent metallic element of low to intermediate hardness that is an essential micronutrient for both plants and animals symbol Znsee element table

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© 2011 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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More than 200 viruses can cause the common cold. There are more than 1 billion colds in the United States each year.