While medical experts heavily express the dangers of self-diagnosing, the following information on head cold symptoms, causes, and treatments should not be utilised for self-diagnosing. Instead, the presented information increases knowledge and awareness on the common infection, and identifying when you should consult with a doctor.
Read more to discover the common causes, symptoms, prevention, treatments, and home remedies for a head cold.
What is a Head Cold?
Before identifying the important aspects of the infection, patients must know what a head cold is.
Head cold, also known as the common cold or head congestion, identifies as a viral nose and throat infection. Serving as the most common cause of illness in children and adults, a vaccine cannot be developed to promote immunisation. To explain the concept, there are over 200 types of viruses that cause the common cold.
Common Causes & Prevention
With over 200 viruses to watch out for, individuals can identify the most probable means of transmission from one person to another. You are contagious from one day prior to symptoms and up to the next 5 days.
First, sneezing, talking, laughing, and coughing introduce droplets into the air which can enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth. If these droplets are not directly ingested, viruses can survive on surfaces, tissues, and hands for up to 24 hours. With these several common ways of transmission, there is emphasis on the importance of washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask if you are sick.
People tend to believe that the cool or cold weather itself causes a head cold. To clarify this assumption, the head cold is more common during the winter due to the preference of remaining indoors. This preference increases the chances of close-contact and infection between family members.
To ensure a mild case of the common cold, individuals can take vitamin C and other multivitamins.
What are the Head Cold Symptoms?
Let us further create awareness and prevention through knowing the most common and less common symptoms of a head cold.
Most common symptoms:
- Runny, stuffed or blocked nose
- Sore throat
Less common head cold symptoms:
- Watery or red eyes
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Feeling unwell: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting
Treating at Home
Typically, patients can treat a head cold from home and this is how.
The best advice is to rest, sleep, and drink plenty of fluids. Increasing your fluids causes loose and easy-to-expel mucus for your benefit, while resting at home prevents further transmission to others.
If you are suffering from mild fever or body pain, you can take painkillers, paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin (for adults only) or NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to address these. And to address congestion, runny nose or sneezing, you may also opt for antihistamines or decongestants. For all medication, the labels and instructions are important to track intake and intervals. For further enquiries on medication, it is best to consult with a doctor.
To deviate from medication, those who are suffering from a common cold can use saline nasal sprays or washes and/or vapour rubs to relieve congestion (blocked nose), runny nose, and to clear the throat.
As for natural, home remedies, here are some tips:
- Lemon: Add lemon to warm water to soothe your throat and unblock your nose.
- Salt-water: Dissolve salt into water and gargle.
- Honey: Relieve your throat at night with a teaspoon of pure honey.
- Ice: Sucking on ice can relieve throat pain.
When Should You Contact a Doctor?
With sufficient knowledge on the symptoms, treatment, causes, and prevention, it is also important to know when to call a doctor.
Contact your doctor if you experience: fever exceeding 38.5ºC, chills, earache, facial or sinus pain, smelly nasal discharge, excessive lymph node swelling, prolonged symptoms (over 7 days), persistent cough, severe headache, paleness, light sensitivity, chest pain, difficulty breathing, skin rash, frequent vomiting, and/or a stiff neck.
To consult with a top general practitioner or specialist, visit Clinica Finder now.