A viral infection, the common cold affects the nose and throat (AKA the respiratory tract). While many types of viruses can cause a cold, the most common cause is rhinoviruses. The cold is spread through the mouth, eyes or nose through droplets in the air when someone coughs or sneezes. It can also spread from hand-to-hand contact.
Children around six years old and younger are at a higher risk for colds, but healthy adults often experience two or three colds a year. The majority of people recover from a common cold within 10 days.
Common symptoms of a common cold include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Low fever
- Slight body aches
Nasal discharge may appear thick and yellow or greenish in color as the cold run its course. This is normal and is not necessarily a sign of a bacterial infection.
There is no cure for a common cold, and antibiotics cannot be used to treat cold viruses unless there is a bacterial infection present. Relieving signs and symptoms can be achieved through over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestant nasal sprays, and cough syrups.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a viral infection of the respiratory system. It is not to be confused with stomach “flu” viruses that are associated with diarrhea and vomiting. The flu travels through air droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.
Young children under the age of five, adults older than 65, those with weakened immune systems, or those with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk of developing the flu.
Common symptoms of influenza include:
- Fever over 100.4°F
- Chills and sweats
- Dry cough
- Aching muscles
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
Treatment for the flu usually entails bed rest and plenty of fluids. However, in some cases, an antiviral medication may be prescribed. These drugs can shorten the illness by a couple of days and prevent complications.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu, contact Springfield Urgent Care today. We will work with you to help you find relief, fast.