What Are The Symptoms Of A Cold
Cold symptoms typically take a few days to appear. The symptoms of a cold rarely appear suddenly. Knowing the difference between cold and flu symptoms can help you decide how to treat your condition and whether you need to see your doctor.
Nasal symptoms include:
If youre experiencing symptoms of a cold, youre likely looking for relief. Cold treatments fall into two main categories:
How Long Do Cold Symptoms Last
Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold to others, so stay home and get some much-needed rest.
If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.
Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis or a sinus infection. If cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Common Cold
Common cold symptoms may include:
Stuffy, runny nose
Watery discharge from nose that thickens and turns yellow or green
Colds usually start 2 to 3 days after the virus enters the body and symptoms last from several days to several weeks.
Cold symptoms may look like other medical conditions. Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis if your symptoms are severe.
A cold and the flu are two different illnesses. A cold is relatively harmless and usually clears up by itself, although sometimes it may lead to a secondary infection, such as an ear infection. However, the flu can lead to complications, such as pneumonia and even death. What may seem like a cold, could be the flu. Be aware of these differences:
Normal energy level or may feel sluggish
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How Is The Common Cold Treated
Currently, there is no medicine available to cure or shorten the duration of the common cold. However, the following are some treatments that may help to relieve some symptoms of the cold:
Over-the-counter cold medicines, such as decongestants and cough medicine
Pain relievers for headache or fever
Warm, salt water gargling for sore throat
Petroleum jelly for raw, chapped skin around the nose and lips
Warm steam for congestion
Because colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics don’t work. Antibiotics are only effective when given to treat bacterial infections.
Do not give aspirin to a child who has fever. Aspirin, when given as treatment for viral illnesses in children, has been associated with Reye syndrome. This is a potentially serious or deadly disorder in children.
Everyone Age 6 Months And Older Is Encouraged To Get A Flu Shot It Is Even More Important For:
- people age 65 and older
- individuals with underlying medical conditions
- individuals in contact with those at a high risk of developing complications:
- healthcare workers
- individuals in contact with high-risk individuals
- individuals close to infants under 6 months
- providers of essential community services: firefighters, police,ambulance drivers, etc.
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How Long Does A Cold Last
The common cold is a viral infection in your upper respiratory tract. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. In most cases, viruses like the cold just need to run their course. You can treat the symptoms of the infection, but you cant actually treat the infection itself.
The average common cold lasts anywhere from seven to 10 days. Depending on your overall health, you may have symptoms for more or less time. For example, people who smoke or have asthma may experience symptoms longer.
If your symptoms do not ease or disappear in seven to 10 days, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Symptoms that dont go away could be a sign of a bigger problem, such as the flu or strep throat.
Treatment For Common Cold
There is no cure for the common cold. Treatment is limited to symptomatic supportive options, maximizing the comfort of the patient, and limiting complications and harmful sequelae. The most reliable treatment is a combination of fluids and plenty of rest. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggests getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to maintain hydration, gargling with warm salt water, using cough drops, throat sprays, or over-the-counter pain or cold medicines. Saline nasal drops may help alleviate congestion.
The common cold is self-limiting, and the host’s immune system effectively deals with the infection. Within a few days, the body’s humoral immune response begins producing specific antibodies that can prevent the virus from infecting cells. Additionally, as part of the cell-mediated immune response, leukocytes destroy the virus through phagocytosis and destroy infected cells to prevent further viral replication. In healthy, immunocompetent individuals, the common cold resolves in seven days on average.
Although some people take antibiotics to treat common cold, doctors believe that antibiotics are not at all effective in treating common cold. This is because cold is caused by a virus and not a bacteria.
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Treatment For Colds And Flu
Instead, you can treat yourself at home by:
- getting plenty of rest and sleep
- drinking plenty of fluids
- and if you have a sore throat, eating soft foods that are easy to swallow.
If you dont experience any complications, or have high risk factors for complications, treatment of the flu requires no prescription medication. Over-the-counter medication is available to help relieve headaches, muscles aches and fever, and while these wont cure your illness, they may make you feel more comfortable.
In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine to reduce the duration and severity of your symptoms. This type of medication is most effective when taken at the onset of an infection.
See your doctor or call 13 HEALTH if you have a cough and high fever that is not improving, trouble breathing, chest pain, or if you have any other concerns about your symptoms.
What Is The Difference Between The Flu And A Common Cold
Janet Smith, CNP discusses cold and flu concerns. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.
Not sure if you have a cold or the flu?
While theyre both respiratory sicknesses and often have the same symptoms, theyre caused by different viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Flu symptoms are usually worse and come on more quickly than a cold, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of a cold include:
- Runny nose
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What Can You Do To Prevent A Cold
Colds are extremely difficult to prevent entirely. The following suggestions may help:
- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, especially during the first few days when they are most likely to spread the infection.
- Wash hands after touching someone who has a cold, after touching an object they have touched, and after blowing your nose. If a child has a cold, wash his or her toys after play.
- Keep fingers away from your nose and eyes to avoid infecting yourself with cold virus particles you may have been picked up.
- Put up a second hand towel in the bathroom for healthy people to use.
- Keep an eye on the humidity of your environment so that sinuses do not dry out.
Do not inflict your cold on others! Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away and wash hands. Also, stay away from people who are most vulnerable, including anyone who has asthma or another chronic lung disease, or at least try to limit close contact.
Until recently, it was thought that a single vaccine could not be developed for the different cold viruses. New research approaches may enable the development of a single vaccine for most types of colds.
What Are The Symptoms Of Flu Versus The Symptoms Of A Cold
The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue . Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.
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Flu: Comes On Fast And Furious
If you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, it’s probably the flu. Symptoms like sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches, congestion, and cough tend to come on suddenly. Colds are usually less intense and include a runny or stuffy nose. The flu gets better over 2 to 5 days, but you might feel run-down for a week or longer. Colds come on slowly and last up to 10 days.
What Is The Difference Between Cold And Flu Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Influenza, or the flu, and the common cold can be tricky to tell apart. Both are respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, and they share many symptoms.
Since colds and the flu are caused by viruses, rather than bacteria, antibiotics are not an effective treatment option.
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Fact Or Fiction: Feed A Cold Starve A Fever
Old wives tales like Feed a cold, starve a fever are passed down from generation to generation. The saying comes from a 16th century idea that starving your body of energy while its sick may actually help it make itself warmer. Avoiding food, the same philosophy suggested, could help your body cool down if it had a fever.
Today, medical research suggests the saying should instead be feed a cold, feed a fever. When your body is fighting an infection, like a cold, its using much more energy than it does when youre well. Therefore, it needs more energy.
Energy comes from food. It makes sense, then, that you need to feed a cold so your body can have enough energy to help kick the virus as quickly as possible. You may be tempted to skip meals, however, because a cold can impair your sense of taste. But make sure you keep eating so your body has enough energy.
If you have a fever, you shouldnt avoid eating, either. A fever is a sign that your bodys immune system is fighting to defeat a bug. A fever raises your bodys natural temperature, which also increases metabolism. A faster metabolism burns more calories. The higher your fever climbs, the more energy your body needs. As with a cold, however, dont use a fever as an excuse to overeat. You just need to eat normally so your body gets plenty of energy to fight the bugs.
Complications Of Cold And Flu
Most common colds are not severe, but they can worsen or lead to health complications.
Enteroviruses that are often the culprits in the common cold can cause brain lining inflammation that causes severe headaches, difficulty looking at bright lights, neck stiffness, high fever, and confusion, says Cameron Wolfe, MBBS, an infectious-disease specialist at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.
If cold or flu symptoms persist or worsen, the patient may have a secondary or bacterial infection. That can lead to sinus or ear infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. The flu can also worsen preexisting medical problems, such as triggering asthma attacks in people with asthma.
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Are There Effective Ways Of Preventing Colds And The Flu
Basic hygiene, combined with a few specific precautions, can be helpful. Infected people can spread the virus into the air when they talk, sneeze or cough. You can catch the virus by putting your hand to your nose after shaking hands with an infected person or by using their phone. Hence, anyone with a cold or the flu should wash their hands frequently and avoid sharing personal objects.
Fatigue and overexertion alone cannot cause someone to catch a cold or the flu, but they can make people more susceptible to infection. Smokers appear to have more serious episodes and more severe symptoms .
Whats The Difference Between The Common Cold The Flu Rsv And Covid
They are triggered by different viruses.
- The flu is caused by the influenza virus, which is seen worldwide and has a seasonal cycle in temperate regions, typically starting in the fall and lasting through the spring. It leads to high fevers, coughing, body aches and other respiratory symptoms.
- The common cold, on the other hand, is caused by the rhinovirus and comes with milder symptoms: a runny nose, slight cough. Although everybody experiences illnesses differently, in most cases, if you have a cold youre still able to function, whereas with the flu you may not.
- RSV, meanwhile, is a result of the respiratory syncytial virus, which can affect the respiratory system, including the nose, throat and lungs. In most people, the virus will present like a colda cough, runny nose and sometimes a feverbut in some it can be dangerous. In infants, RSV can cause pneumonia or bronchiolitis, and people over the age of 50 or those with heart or lung disease are also at risk for complications.
- COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and is more serious because of the higher mortality rate. Its characterized by fevers, cough, runny nose, body aches, and loss of taste and smell. For the most part, children seem to fare much better than adults if they get the coronavirus, but families should still be extra cautious.
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Colds: Otc Drugs Can Ease Symptoms
Drugstore medicines like decongestants, cough suppressants, and antihistamines can help congestion, coughing, and nasal symptoms. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can treat pain or a headache.
Read the active ingredients and warnings on all product labels. Many cough and cold medicines have the same ingredients, so you could accidentally overdose unless you’re careful. Don’t give aspirin to a child under 18. Using it to treat the flu has been linked to a condition called Reyeâs syndrome in kids.
What Are The Symptoms Of Covid
The symptoms of COVID-19 can range from no symptoms to severe respiratory illness. The most common symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath. Based on what we know about the disease at this time, it appears that older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe symptoms or complications.
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What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu
Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and may include:
Sometimes people have trouble figuring out whether they have a cold or the flu. There are differences between them. The symptoms of a cold usually come on more slowly and are less severe than symptoms of the flu. Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches.
Sometimes people say that they have a “flu” when they really have something else. For example, “stomach flu” isn’t the flu it’s gastroenteritis.
Earaches: Can Come From Colds Or Flu
Congestion from either ailment can make your ear pressure rise. This affects the eustachian tube, which connects your throat to your middle ear. It can cause a dull ear pain, hearing loss, and the sensation of âpoppingâ in your ears. It usually goes away with your other symptoms.
See your doctor if the earache lasts longer than your sickness or you feel sudden, strong pain. You may have an ear infection that needs treatment.
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What Are Treatments Medicines And Home Remedies For The Common Cold And The Flu
Treatment options, medicines, and home remedies for the common cold and flu are almost exactly the same except for a few items that pertain to the more severe disease, the flu.
- Common treatments for both diseases include rest and treatment of symptoms as they occur fever is treated with acetaminophen. Symptoms can be managed with good hydration and over-the-counter cold/flu medications that include suppression of symptoms such as cough, congestion, nausea, and sore throat.
- Medicines are usually over-the-counter cold/flu treatments that often are combinations of several drugs like acetaminophen , ibuprofen , various cough suppressants, and/or decongestants for the flu, some health care providers use drugs of the antiviral/neuraminidase inhibitor class , especially in severe infections.
- Home remedies for colds and the flu are similar vitamin C, zinc, humidified air, steamy showers, gargling with saltwater, compresses to relieve sinus congestion and/or headaches, honey and lemon, ginger, and many other items have been recommended. It is best to check with your physician, especially if you have the flu, before relying on home remedies — the home remedies mainly reduce symptoms but do not cure the diseases.