Coryza is a word describing the symptoms of a head cold. It describes the inflammation of the mucus membranes lining the nasal cavity which usually gives rise to the symptoms of nasal congestion and loss of smell, among other symptoms. It should be noted that coryza may not always have an infectious or allergenic etiology and can be due to something as innocuous as a cold wind or spicy food. It is also a symptom of narcotic withdrawal.

Classically used in association with the "three Cs" of Measles infection: coryza, conjunctivitis, and cough.

This word may have its roots in the Greek Koryza, which is likely to be compounded from "kara" and "zeein". which are the noun for head and the verb, to boil. Coryza would therefore be a boiling over of the head. According to another source, coryza was an ancient Greek word denoting a fool; we use the term for a cold in the head, but the two are really synonymous ; the ancient Romans advised their patients to clean their nostrils and thereby sharpen their wits.


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