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Cold like symptoms? Do I need to seek medical attention?

Common cold refers to the viral infection of the upper respiratory tract i.e. nose and throat.  There are more than 200 types of viruses that are identified to cause the common cold. The most commonly involved viruses include rhinovirus, Parainfluenza virus, coronavirus, and adenovirus.

SymptomsCold like symptoms? Do I need to seek medical attention?

The main symptoms of the common cold are listed below.

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches

These symptoms are annoying and you feel so miserable but in reality, it is a self-limiting disease that usually resolves spontaneously in one or two weeks.


The home remedies that are used to treat common cold include consumption of green Tea, boiled eggs and many others.  The list of medications used to alleviate these symptoms is as under.

  • Anti-Histamines: They include drugs such as fexofenadine, and

Brompheniramine, cetirizine, diphenhydramine loratadine, clemastine. They can relieve symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itching, and watering of the eyes.

  • Decongestants: They include ephedrine and pseudoephedrine and are used to treat a stuffy nose.
  • Acetaminophen/NSAIDS: They are used to relieve fever, headache, and generalized body aches.
  • Over the counter cough preparations.


At what point you need to seek medical attention?

The traditional home remedies and medications can ease the symptoms of common cold effectively, and usually, you don’t need to visit a doctor however if the cold is associated with any of the following conditions you must seek medical attention.

1.   Sore throat and Fever without the symptoms of a common cold

The sore throat occurring in the settings of the common cold is associated with classic nasal symptoms of the cold. If you are having a sore throat and fever in the absence of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor. This kind of sore throat could be due to a bacterial infection that requires treatment with appropriate antibiotics.

2.   Chest Tightness, Pain, Cough

The likelihood of contracting a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract is increased after a common cold. This is why you should make an appointment with your doctor if you are having chest tightness, pain during respiratory movements, cough, and shortness of breath as they may be due to a complication such as pneumonia.

3.   Wheezing

A common cold is associated with asthma exacerbation particularly in kids. This can produce a whistling sound heard during breathing, called wheeze. In this case, you are advised to seek medical attention for yourself as well as your child.

4.   Earache

Common cold can produce problems with your ear health. This is due to spread of infection from the throat to the ear through a tube-like structure called Eustachian tube. However, if the earache persists for more than two days you must consult a doctor as it may be due to bacterial infection.

5.   Facial Pain, Toothache and nasal discharge

The persistence of facial pain, toothache, and yellowish discharge from the nose for more than a week can be due to sinus infections. You should consult with your otolaryngologist so that he can evaluate you properly and provide you with antibiotics if required.

Are you suffering from cold-like symptoms? Come to Century Medical and Dental Center (Downtown Brooklyn, Gravesend, Flatbush, Fort Greene and Midtown Manhattan) and have your symptoms taken care of.

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