Vital Urgent Care

Common Cold

Common colds can leave you sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose for days on end. At Vital Urgent Clinic, we are conveniently located nearby to assess and provide treatment for your cold symptoms, helping you get back to feeling your best.

What exactly is the common cold?

As the name suggests, it is a widespread occurrence in the United States, with millions of cases reported each year. It is a primary cause for children staying home from school and adults missing work. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, young children typically experience about 8 to 10 colds within their early years.

The common cold can stem from over 200 different viruses, easily spreading through close contact and even in the air through coughs and sneezes. The most common culprit, as noted by the CDC, is the rhinovirus.

For most individuals, the symptoms of the common cold only bring minor discomfort and a brief period of downtime, as most colds tend to resolve within 7 to 10 days. However, in some cases, colds can lead to secondary infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infection, and ear infection. Young children, in particular, are susceptible to developing ear infections following a cold.

Sign of a Cold

Recognizing the signs of a cold is generally straightforward. Initial symptoms often include a sore or scratchy throat, fatigue, a runny or stuffy nose, and mild achiness. As the cold progresses, sneezing, congestion, coughing, mild fever in children, additional achiness, and fatigue may occur. Towards the end stage of the cold, symptoms typically consist of a lingering cough, congestion, a runny or stuffy nose, and continued fatigue.

If your cold extends beyond ten days or if your symptoms worsen during the end stage, it is advisable to see your primary care provider or visit the nearest Vital Urgent Clinic. These could be indications of a secondary infection requiring treatment with prescription medication.

Diagnosis of a Cold

Diagnosing a cold is generally based on observing symptoms, and specific tests to identify the virus are typically unnecessary.

Treatment of a Cold

Since colds are viral illnesses, antibiotics are ineffective in treating them. However, there are several measures that can help alleviate symptoms. These include getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, using saline spray or a nasal rinse, gargling warm salt water for a sore throat, using a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease discomfort and reduce fever. It is important to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication to ensure appropriateness.

Preventing a Cold

While it is nearly impossible to avoid contracting a cold at some point in life due to their commonality, there are steps you can take to protect yourself during peak cold and flu season. These include avoiding touching your face, nose, mouth, and eyes, as these are entry points for germs. Additionally, minimizing contact with sick individuals and practicing frequent handwashing, especially after touching shared surfaces in high-traffic areas, can help reduce the risk of infection.

If you or your children are ill with a cold, there are measures you can take to prevent the spread of illness. It is advisable to stay home from work or keep your child out of school during the height of the cold. When sneezing or coughing, using a tissue and promptly disposing of it followed by handwashing is recommended. If a tissue is unavailable, sneezing or coughing into the crook of your elbow is an alternative. Regular handwashing or use of hand sanitizer can also help mitigate the spread of germs.

Differences Between a Cold and the Flu

Distinguishing between a cold and the flu can sometimes be challenging, as both are viral illnesses with overlapping symptoms. To assist you in discerning between the two, we have provided a helpful chart outlining the differences in symptoms.

Differences Between a Cold and COVID-19

Furthermore, given the similarities between the common cold and COVID-19 symptoms, it can be confusing to determine which one you may be experiencing. At Vital Urgent Clinic, we offer evaluations, testing, and treatment for COVID-19 to provide you with peace of mind and guide you towards appropriate care. After an evaluation by one of our medical professionals, a COVID-19 test may be recommended to help determine the most suitable treatment plan for you. For adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 at an increased risk of severe disease, Vital Urgent Clinic offers Paxlovid* as part of the treatment options.

At Vital Urgent Clinic, we are committed to ensuring your well-being and providing the care you need to recover from common colds or other ailments.

Cold vs. Flu

Symptoms Cold Flu
FEVER rare 3-14 days
ACHES slight aches and pains severe aches and pains
CHILLS rare acommon
TIREDNESS slight to moderate moderate to severe
ONSET over a few days sudden
COUGHING mucus-producing dry, no mucus
SNEEZING common not typical
STUFFY NOSE common not typical
HEADACHE common common

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