How to Treat a Head Cold

November 9, 2021

Sometimes called the common cold, the head cold can disrupt your daily routine, even though it’s a mild form of illness in most instances. It tends to affect children more than adults, with more incidents of head colds in children than adults annually. It takes many kids out of school and adults away from work when it strikes.

With the head cold, the affected individual will usually feel ill for several days, typically a week, with mild symptoms. Persons with a compromised immune system can develop complications from contracting a head cold, like pneumonia. No one likes to feel unwell and have their daily routine disturbed, and so it’s important to recover from the head cold as soon as possible. How do you treat a head cold if you happen to get sick with it?

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Symptoms of a Head Cold

As the name suggests, “head cold” involves symptoms that manifest in your head, but some symptoms go beyond the head. The symptoms tend to appear 1-3 days after exposure to the virus and can last for 7-10 days. Common symptoms can usually include:

  • Coughing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Ill feeling
  • Mild body aches
  • Mild headache

Treating a Head Cold

There’s no cure for the head cold, but you can treat the symptoms. It takes a couple of days for the symptoms to improve, but there are some measures that you can take to make you somewhat comfortable as you cope with feeling ill. Here’s what you can do:

  • Rest. Rest. Rest. Your body needs time to recoup and get back into balance, so don’t overdo it. Simply take it easy.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, particularly water and fruit juices (e.g., orange juice). Avoid drinking alcohol, sodas, and coffee which can cause greater dehydration.
  • You can soothe your sore throat in a number of ways, such as gargling with a salt solution (1/2 teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of water) a couple of times a day, sucking on a lozenge, using a throat spray, or drinking hot tea or soup broth.
  • Use a saline spray to loosen mucus that clogs the nasal passage.
  • Ease congestion while you sleep by placing a vaporizer or humidifier in your space.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to relieve mild aches.
  • See your doctor if signs of the head cold persist for more than ten days or worsen.

Preventing a Head Cold

The head cold doesn’t have to slow you down. The cold season is in the fall and winter, and you can take certain measures to avoid getting sick:

  • Stay clear of anyone who is sick with the cold or showing signs of being sick, such as sneezing and coughing.
  • Wash your hands with water and soap after a handshake, coming in contact with frequently touched surfaces, or cleanse your hands of germs with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t put your hands near your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Don’t share personal items like glasses, towels, etc.
  • Boost your body’s immunity to catching a cold by eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting adequate sleep, and managing and limiting stress in your life.

Head cold doesn’t have to hold you back. If you can protect yourself from getting ill with the head cold, you could help to make your winter season less stressful. If you are experiencing symptoms of the cold, seek treatment and get back to being yourself.

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