How To Recognize, Treat, and Prevent A Head Cold

Overview: How To Recognize, Treat, and Prevent A Head Cold

The common cold, commonly known as the head cold, is a minor disease that may have an influence on your everyday life. A head cold may leave you feeling exhausted, depleted, and generally sick for many days, in addition to sneezes, sniffles, coughs, and a sore throat.

Every year, adults have two or three instances of a head cold. Each year, children may get eight or more of these infections. Colds are the most common cause for children to skip school and adults to miss work. Colds are typically mild and last around a week. However, as a result of a head cold, some individuals, particularly those with a compromised immune system, might acquire more severe infections such as bronchitis, sinus infection, or pneumonia. Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a head cold, as well as how to manage your symptoms if you do become sick.

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What’s the difference between cold in the brain and cold in the chest?

The words “head cold” and “chest cold” may be familiar to you. A virus causes all colds, which are essentially respiratory illnesses. The distinction in words typically relates to where your symptoms are located.

A “head cold” is characterized by symptoms such as a stuffy, runny nose and watery eyes. You’ll experience chest congestion and cough if you have a “chest cold.” A “chest cold” is a term used to describe viral bronchitis. Viruses, including colds, may cause viral bronchitis.

Symptoms of a head cold

The symptoms are one method to tell whether you’ve got a head cold. These are some of them:

  • a runny or stuffy nose
  • sneezing
  • throat irritation
  • cough
  • Fever of a mild intensity
  • An overall sense of unease
  • minor aches and pains in the body or a headache

Symptoms of a head cold generally occur one to three days after being exposed to the virus. Your signs and symptoms should last seven to ten days.

Sinus infection vs. Head cold

Many of the symptoms of a head cold and a sinus infection are similar, including:

  • congestion
  • nose leaking
  • headache
  • cough
  • throat irritation

Their causes, however, are distinct. Colds are caused by viruses. Although viruses may cause sinus infections, bacteria are more often to blame. When bacteria or other germs develop in the air-filled regions behind your cheekbones, forehead, and nose, you have a sinus infection. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • The discharge from your nose may be greenish in hue.
  • A mucus that runs down the back of your throat is known as a postnasal drip.
  • Face discomfort or soreness, particularly around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and forehead
  • a toothache or discomfort in your teeth
  • decreased olfactory perception
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • stale breath

What causes a common cold in the head?

Colds are caused by viruses, the most prevalent of which are rhinoviruses. Colds may also be caused by the following viruses:

  • human metapneumovirus
  • human parainfluenza virus
  • respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Colds are not caused by bacteria. Antibiotics will not help to treat a cold because of this.

When an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets carrying the virus are sprayed into the air, and you develop a cold. Another method to become infected is to contact objects that have the virus on them, such as doorknobs, phones, or toys. When you contact your eyes, nose, or mouth, the virus might enter your body. If you have a compromised immune system or smoke, you’re more prone to develop a cold. In the autumn and winter, colds are more common than in the spring and summer.

When should you consult a physician/doctor?

Colds are often minor ailments. For common cold symptoms like a stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing, you shouldn’t need to consult a doctor. If you experience any of the following more severe symptoms, you should visit a doctor:

  • breathing problems or wheezing
  • a fever of more than 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit (38.5 degrees Celsius)
  • a persistent aching throat
  • a strong headache, particularly when accompanied with a fever
  • a cough that won’t go away or is difficult to stop
  • earache
  • persistent discomfort in the area of your nose, eyes, or forehead
  • rash
  • severe exhaustion
  • confusion

If your symptoms don’t improve or grow worse after seven days, see your doctor. You could have one of the following problems, which affect a tiny percentage of individuals who suffer colds:

  • bronchitis
  • Infection in the ear
  • pneumonia
  • Infection of the sinuses (sinusitis)


A cold cannot be cured. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, not viruses that cause colds. Within a few days, your symptoms should improve. In the meanwhile, here are some things you may do to put yourself more at ease:

  • Take it easy on yourself. Rest as much as possible to allow your body to heal.
  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juices to stay hydrated. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as soda and coffee. They’ll make you even more dehydrated. Also, until you feel better, stay away from alcohol.
  • Assist in the relief of a sore throat. Several times a day, gargle with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces water. Grasp a lozenge. Drink a cup of a hot tea or a bowl of soup broth. Alternatively, a sore throat spray might be used.
  • Clear your nasal passages if they’re congested. A saline spray may aid in the loosening of mucus in the nose. You may also use a decongestant spray, but only for three days at a time. If you use decongestant sprays for more than three days, you may get rebound stuffiness.
  • To relieve congestion, sleep with a vaporizer or humidifier in your room.
  • Take a pain reliever if necessary. Try an over-the-counter (OTC) pain treatment such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen for minor discomfort (Advil, Motrin). Adults should take aspirin (Bufferin, Bayer Aspirin), but children and teenagers should not. It may cause Reye syndrome, a rare but dangerous condition.

Check the box if you use over-the-counter cold medicine. Make sure you’re just taking medications to address the symptoms you’re experiencing. Children under the age of six should not be given cold drugs.


Colds usually go away in a week to ten days. A cold may sometimes progress to a more severe illness, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Consult your doctor if your symptoms persist for more than 10 days or if they are becoming worse.

Important Prevention Tips

Take these precautions to prevent being ill, especially during the cold season, which occurs in the autumn and winter:

  • Avoid someone who seems or behaves sick. Instead of coughing and sneezing into the air, have them cough and sneeze into their elbow.
  • Please wash your hands. Wash your hands with warm water and soap after shaking hands or touching shared surfaces. To destroy bacteria, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain a safe distance between your hands and your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, which are easy entry points for bacteria.
  • Don’t share. Bring your own glasses, cutlery, towels, and other personal belongings with you.
  • Boost your immunity. If your immune system is functioning properly, you’ll be less likely to develop a cold. To keep healthy, eat a well-balanced diet, get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, exercise, and handle stress.

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