common cold


What is a cold and what causes it?

Most colds are caused by invisible droplets called rhinoviruses that are in the air you breathe or on things you touch.  More than 100 different rhinoviruses can inflitrate the protective lining of the nose and throat, triggering an immune system reaction that can start the cold symptom response.  Rhinoviruses can stay alive as droplets in the air or on surfaces and may be able to make a person sick for as long a 3 hours after someone who has a cold has coughed or sneezed.

Colds usually begin slowly, two or three days after infection with the virus.  The first symptoms are a scratchy, sore throat, followed by sneezing and a runny nose.  Colds typically last from 3 to 10 days.  Temperature is usually normal or only slightly elevated.  A mild cough can develop several days later.

 cold symptoms

What can I do to feel better?

No medicine can cure a cold!  Antibiotics don't work against viruses.  Antibiotics should only be taken if needed for bacterial infections.  You can help yourself feel better by letting your body rest and treating your symptoms while your body fights off the virus.  Some suggestions include:

Symptoms relief - look for over-the-counter medication with ingredients that address your needs.  Here are some helpful tips:


can cold be prevented?

Many colds can be prevented by:Hand washing image


when should i see a practitioner?

Most common colds do not require a visit to the Health Center. Sometime secondary bacterial infections such as ear infections, sinusitis or pneumonia may develop.  These may require treatment with antibiotics.  People with asthma or people who smoke may be especially prone to complications.  Schedule an appointment to see a health care provider if any of the following occurs:;