How To Treat A Cold

Fact Checked

Overview Of Colds

  • A cold is the result of an infection caused by a virus. It generally lasts for up to three days and does not cause severe disorders for those who are healthy.
  • Symptoms consist of a runny or congested nose, coughing, headache, slight fever, sneezing, slight earache, aching throat and red, soggy eyes.
  • At times, colds are confused with influenza (‘flu’). Influenza is a much more severe condition, particularly in older people and individuals with other health complications.
  • Many symptoms are comparable to those of a cold, but there is generally a higher fever with flu. There could also be chills, exhaustion, sore muscles and joints with flu, and some individuals have breathing problems.
  • If you usually suffer from a runny nose or sneezing during certain seasons this might be hay fever and not a cold.

Visit Your Doctor

  • If you or experiencing a high fever;
  • If you have trouble breathing or your chest is wheezing;
  • If you have sinus pain or a serious earache;
  • If your cold has carried on for more than a week; and
  • If you have a rash, nausea or neck pain.

Not all cold medications will be appropriate for everybody. Ask your chemist for advice:

  • If the person with the cold is an infant or a child;
  • If you have high asthma, heart complications, abdominal or indigestion complications, kidney problems, high blood pressure or diabetes;
  • If you are expecting a baby or breastfeeding; and
  • If you are taking medication for other disorders.


Avoid transmitting the cold to others:

  • Close your mouth when coughing or sneezing;
  • Throw away any tissues when blowing your nose;
  • Rinse your hands regularly with soap and warm water, particularly after you cough or sneeze; and
  • Try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes since germs are easily transmitted that way.

Related Video On Colds


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