The common cold is an infection that can irritate your nose and throat.
Sore Throat Due to Inflammation
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The common cold is caused by a virus. There are over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold.
Factors that increase your chance of a cold include:
Symptoms can include:
The diagnosis is most often based on your symptoms.
A cold usually lasts 10 days or longer. There are no cures for a cold. But there are treatments that can relieve your symptoms, including:
To make you more comfortable:
To relive aches, pains, and fever consider:
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
Cough and cold medications include:
Note: Do not use cough and cold medicines in children younger than 4 years of age. Rare but serious side effects have been reported.
Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can shrink nasal passages. They also decrease mucus production. Nasal sprays should only be used for 2-3 days. Longer use can lead to increased congestion when you stop using the product.
Many people use alternative treatments to relieve their cold symptoms. Some of the more popular choices include:
Other herb preparations include:
Note: Some herbal treatments may not be pure. Many can also interact with prescription medicines and OTC products. Talk to your doctor if you are thinking of using herbs to treat a cold.
The most important way to keep from getting or spreading a cold is by washing your hands. Wash your hands well and often. Other ways to keep from getting a cold: