The dreaded cold season is among us and, unfortunately, there is no known cure for the common cold. Symptoms like congestion, headaches, and fever can be very frustrating, and it makes it difficult to go about your daily life.
On average, a common cold will last for about two weeks. Luckily, there are many known remedies to help manage the symptoms, so you don’t have to feel miserable while your body heals.
Contracting a Cold
The common cold is a routine part of many peoples’ years, infecting over three million people a year. Young children and elderly people under six are at a higher risk of contracting a cold, but even a healthy adult can get a cold as often as three times a year.
It’s also extremely contagious so, when you are experiencing the symptoms of a cold, it’s important to keep your distance from others.
At Utah Family Pharmacy, we value you and your health. To prevent yourself from spreading a cold in these uncertain times, or if you just aren’t up to making a trip to the pharmacy, we also offer free delivery on all medications – both prescription and over the counter.
We carry just about any medication you can think of to help alleviate the symptoms of a common cold.
What is the Common Cold?
The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, meaning it mostly impacts your throat and nose.
A common cold can be dangerous for those with compromised immune systems. However, for those with a typically clean health record, a cold is virtually harmless. That being said, the bothersome symptoms can make it feel pretty unbearable.
The most common symptoms of a cold are:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Dry cough
- Body aches
- Low-grade fever
- Weakness, fatigue, or malaise
Typically, it’s not necessary to seek medical attention during a common cold. Your body will heal with time.
However, if you are experiencing a high fever or if your fever lasts for more than five days, you should pay a visit to a doctor to receive prescription relief.
Also, if you are having cold-like symptoms accompanied by trouble breathing or chest pain, it’s important to receive emergency medical attention at an ER.
If you are already at a high risk, you will be more likely to contract a cold and more likely to experience severe symptoms of the infection, as well. Some of the known risk factors include:
- Age – As mentioned earlier, children under the age of six and elderly people are at a higher risk of contracting a cold. Children are at an especially high risk if they spend time in a childcare facility.
- Time of year – You can catch a cold at any time of the year, but the fall and winter months are when cases of the virus are at an annual high.
- Compromised immune systems – Having a chronic illness puts you at a higher risk of contracting viral infections in general, especially ones that are very contagious.
- Smoking – Frequent exposure to cigarette smoke puts you at a higher risk of contracting respiratory infections.
Cold Treatment Options
Two weeks spent suffering through the symptoms of a cold can feel like a lifetime. There are plenty of things you can do to make it more bearable:
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water. You can also drink clear broth or juice if you have lost your appetite. The body tends to be dehydrated more while fighting infection, staying hydrated will help you heal faster. Drinking caloric beverages like broth and juice will also help your body produce more mucus, alleviating congestion.
A sore throat and congestion can also be alleviated by warm lemon water with honey.
You can also opt to gargle warm salt water (half a teaspoon of sea salt dissolved in an eight ounce glass of water) can temporarily relieve the pain of a sore throat, as well.
- Over-the-counter medication – Antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers will offer some temporary relief for cold symptoms.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen could be used to temporarily relieve headaches. Use caution when taking OTC pain medications, and be sure to follow the dosing instructions listed on the bottle. Overuse of these types of medications can cause many complications down the line, including issues with your liver and stomach.
Keep in mind that many decongestants and antihistamines have similar ingredients to pain medication. If you are taking them in conjunction with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, be sure to read the label to ensure that you are not taking too much of one medication.
Saline nasal drops can also help relieve congestion by loosening mucus if you are experiencing a stuffy nose.
- Adding moisture to the air – If you are experiencing cold symptoms, you should consider investing in a humidifier. It is recommended to put the humidifier in the room where you are sleeping or spending the most time while sick, and it adds moisture to the air that will loosen the congestion. Change the water in the humidifier daily and follow the manufacturer’s instructions in setting it up.
Sitting in a bath that is warm enough to produce steam will also have the same effect. You can also simmer a pot of water on the stove and let the steam rise up around your face for a few minutes to get similar results.
Preventing the Spread
When you are experiencing the symptoms of a cold, it’s very important that you make sure to take the precautionary measures to keep yourself from spreading the infection to others.
Wash your hands often, limit the time you spend in public, and keep your distance from strangers. If possible, work remotely, have necessities delivered, and try not to spend a lot of time in common areas of your home if you live with others.
There are also some other tips that medical professionals suggest in preventing the spread of the incredibly contagious cold:
- Do not kiss or share food and beverages with others, especially children.
- Ensure that you are not contaminating shared surfaces or objects, such as blankets and doorknobs.
- Avoid touching others; meaning no handshakes or hugs.
- Wear your PPE, as respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes are the quickest way to infect others. When not wearing a mask, cough and sneeze into tissues, then dispose of the tissues immediately.
- Disinfect your common areas often – be sure you are cleaning all surfaces, washing linens and towels, and cleaning all the objects you use.
- Choose your childcare center wisely. You should only take your children to a facility with good hygiene and disinfecting practices.
Be courteous and respectful when you have the common cold. Symptoms that may not be severe for you can have a devastating impact on those who are already at a high risk.
In the current pandemic, it’s crucial to keep the spread of another virus to a minimum. Many medical professionals worry that the all time high COVID-19 cases combined with the upcoming cold season could cause a detrimental impact on those with compromised immune systems.
It’s known that contracting a common cold is more likely during the fall and winter months, so it’s important to keep yourself and others safe this season. Wash your hands often, keep a minimum of six feet between yourself and others, and don’t forget your mask!
Cold Treatment with Utah Family Pharmacy
If you catch a cold this season, Utah Family Pharmacy offers tons of treatment options year round. Utah Family Pharmacy carries just about any over-the-counter treatment, including antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers.
We also have a pharmacy for those who need to seek prescription treatment for more severe cold symptoms. Our team offers free delivery for both prescription drugs and our over-the-counter products.
We want you to manage your symptoms and feel better as soon as possible, so if you have any questions about the prevention or treatment of a common cold, our pharmacists will be happy to provide you with reliable and helpful information.
There is a lot of misinformation out there, so we want to help you educate yourself on the prevention, causes, and proper treatment of a common cold.
That being said, if you do contract a common cold, Utah Family Pharmacy is here to help get you feeling your best again as soon as possible. Visit one of our three locations today and we’ll be happy to help you figure out the best course of action in managing your symptoms.
Or, call in to one of our locations and ask about our free delivery of all prescriptions and over-the-counter products. This way, you can equip yourself with all the tools you need for symptom relief without having to leave the comfort of your home.
While a cold is not typically harmful, the frustrating symptoms associated with it can sure make you feel debilitated. There are many treatment options that can help you manage symptoms while the virus runs its course and your body recovers.
Explain your symptoms to one of our pharmacists and ask what your best treatment option is, start feeling better today with Utah Family Pharmacy!