Each sniffle, cough, ache, and pain resulting from a cold is a sign that your body is working to fight against the virus. Learn why each symptom occurs, when you should be concerned, and what you can do to feel better fast.
Most sore throats are caused by either mucus in the back of the throat or a viral infection which causes irritation and inflammation.
When to call a doctor: Most sore throats can be soothed by drinking warm liquids, gargling with salt water, or taking over-the-counter pain relievers like Acetaminophen. Severe difficulty breaking or swallowing could be a sign of bacterial infection (such as strep) so it’s best to visit a doctor.
A natural reflex triggered by excessive phlegm or other foreign substances in the lungs, coughs work to keep the respiratory airways clear.
When to call a doctor: difficulty breathing or coughs that produce blood or discolored mucus are signs of more serious illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis, which require medical attention. Normal coughs can be soothed with warm liquids or hard candy.
A sneeze is a sudden, involuntary spasm used to quickly expel bacteria and other foreign particles that enter the nose.
When to call a doctor: Sneezing rarely requires medical attention but if it persists after your cold is gone or otherwise interferes with your life, visit a doctor to rule out allergies. Some antihistamines may help control sneezing but otherwise it’s best to allow your body react naturally. Just be sure to practice good etiquette and sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
West Hartford is a full-service walk-in clinic offering quality care for all of your cold and flu needs. We offer convenient extended hours Monday – Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and weekends from 8 am to 5 pm.