The common cold is a group of symptoms that is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. There are many different viruses that can infect the upper respiratory tract and cause the common cold. As a result, symptoms will often vary slightly from cold to cold. The most common virus that causes the common cold is called the Rhinovirus. Rhinovirus is highly contagious and spreads either through droplet particles in the air (when someone coughs or sneezes) or through contact with contaminated surfaces. While it is very easy to catch and spread, the common cold is usually more annoying than serious and will resolve on its own.
WHO IS AT RISK?
We are all at risk for developing the common cold. The viruses that cause the common cold are always present in the environment. At certain times of year, especially during the Fall and Winter months, the rates of infection are higher. Typically children and young adults are more prone to developing symptoms of the common cold, however people can become infected at any age.
THE COMMON COLD SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of the common cold vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat, sinus congestion, cough, headache and low-grade temperature. Generally symptoms start 2-3 days after exposure to a cold virus and last for 7-10 days. Typically the common cold does not cause a high fever and a high fever may indicate an infection with a more serious type of virus such as influenza. Other reasons to seek medical attention include severe cough, shortness of breath, sinus pain, swollen glands and extreme fatigue.
DIAGNOSIS AND THE COMMON COLD TREATMENT
Diagnosis is based on a careful medical history obtained by your doctor. There is no specific treatment or cure for the common cold. Treatments are given to help provide symptomatic relief. Some examples of symptomatic treatments include pain relievers (Tylenol, ibuprofen), decongestant medications and cough suppressants. Antibiotics have no effect on the cold virus and should not be taken.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
1. Video chat with a doctor and let them know your symptoms and all the home remedies you have tried.
2. The doctor can issue a prescription and make treatment recommendations to get you feeling better.
3. Pick up any prescriptions at your local pharmacy, and let us know if you aren't feeling better soon.