General body aches, chills, fever less than 101° F, fatigue, rundown feeling, headache, sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, dry & hacking cough, cough bringing up mucus. If you have symptoms of the common could for less than 4-6 days, you probably do not need medical attention.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold. Upper respiratory infections or colds are an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract caused by many different viral strains. Colds are spread mainly through droplet infection through kissing, sneezing, coughing, and contaminated hands. Colds may last in diminishing severity for two to four weeks. They cannot be cured by antibiotics. However, over-the-counter medications may reduce your symptoms. Remedies
- Get plenty of fluids- It helps break up your congestion, keeps your throat moist and prevents you from getting dehydrated
- Take a hot shower: You can loosen up a stuffy nose by breathing in steam
- Blow your nose- It’s better to get it out than keep it in. Try using a first aid ointment after to prevent your nostrils from getting raw.
- Use a saline spray
- Stay warm and well rested
- Gargle with warm salt water:- It brings temporarily relief to a sore throat
- Drink hot liquids- They relieve congestion and soothe the inflamed lining of your nose and throat
- Put a warm washcloth on your sinuses
- Use cough drops with menthol: They will help numb your throat
- Place an extra pillow under your head: It will help relieve congested nasal passages
There may be a day or two when nothing seems to help. But while common colds can make people feel terrible, you will begin to feel better soon!
To prevent the spread of the virus, cover your mouth during sneezing and coughing. Also, wash your hands, especially before handling food. Be courteous- viral illnesses can spread easily from person to person.
It is important to determine if you have a viral cold as opposed to a bacterial infection. Do you have...
- A rash
- More than a mild earache
- Facial pain
- A cough that produces green, brown, or bloody mucus
- Chest pain
- A wheeze
- A history of repeated strep throat
- Rheumatic fever
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Kidney disease (excluding common urinary tract infection)
- Asthma, or chronic bronchitis
- Cold symptoms that have persisted for more than four days without improvement
- A fever of 101° F or more on each of the last three days
- White or yellow patches on the back of your throat
Contact the health center
for an appointment If you have nasal congestion, do you also have...
- A temperature of 101° F or higher that persists for more than two days
- Congestion that does not clear up within 2-3 weeks
- A cough or sneeze which produces brown, green, or bloody mucus
- Tender or painful sinuses around the eyes.
Contact the health center
for an appointment.
Medication for congestion
Pseudoephedrine (Found in Sudafed)
Decongests nasal membranes by shrinking the blood vessels and swollen membranes. It will not
make you drowsy because it does not contain an antihistamine. It may make you feel "hyper", though. Do not take before bed, switch to actifed, or check with a doctor or nurse.
A note about antihistamines
Antihistamines often cause drowsiness and are often found in OTC products designed to relieve cold and allergy symptoms. Examples of antihistamines include diphenhydramine hydrochloride chlorpheniramine, and clemastine fumarate. CAUTION: Side effects include dizziness, nervousness, sleeplessness, and heart palpitations. Do not
take with caffeine, other stimulants, or alcohol. Sodium Chloride (found in some nasal sprays, e.g., Nasal Moist)
Used for dry nasal membranes caused by chronic sinusitis, dry air, allergies, and asthma.
If you choose to take a cold medication that treats multiple symptoms, it is helpful to know its ingredients. There are two main things to look out for with combination over-the-counter medications:
- You may be treating symptoms you do not have when you take a combination medication. For example, Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough & Cold Liquid contains a decongestant and a cough suppressant. If you have a cough, but not a stuffy or runny nose, you would not need to take this product.
- You may not be getting enough of a particular active ingredient when you take a combination product (see examples below). -OR- You may overdose on an ingredient if you take a combination medication in conjunction with another drug.