Acute cold: Symptoms and treatment
Catching cold or flu is common during winter season. So it is always better to be proactive and prepared for such acute cold. Here is a brief on few early symptoms and best treatment options to fight it.
Three most persistent symptoms seen during early days of infection include ear pressure, nasal congestion and sinus pressure. Other common symptoms may stretch from few days to two weeks. These include:
Sneezing and sore throat-This symptom is quite common and prominent in the first week of illness. Our body usually takes three to six days to resolve sore throat and sneezing.
Post-nasal drainage- This is usually watery and clear during the first few days and as it advances, it turns discoloured, thick, yellow or green. This should not scare you as it does not necessarily mean that you have a bacterial infection. It takes at least five to seven days to feel better.
Low grade fever-The first week will be tough as this fever is accompanied by muscle aches. This fever is usually around 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less and will ease within the first week of infection.
Cough-This cough is not dry, it is accompanied by sputum which might be yellow-green. You can expect a persistent cough in comparison to flu. This cough will be cleared in a period of two to three weeks, provided there is no infection.
The medicines you take during flu are slightly different from the ones recommended for acute cold. You need to get a prescription that covers major respiratory symptoms. But before you get that, it is advisable not to rush for antibiotics as they won’t help alleviate the cold at all.
You need to monitor your temperature as high fever of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit is a major symptom of influenza. Optimize the use of a thermometer to keep a track of your illness, if you do not want complications resulting from respiratory infection.
For sore throat, headache, muscle aches, headaches and fever, go for analgesics to control the conditions. To avoid the problem of inflamed sinuses, always use decongestants that help alleviate ear pressure, sinus pressure and nasal congestion. Although sometimes, you can expect side effects such as loss of appetite, insomnia and increased pulse with this kind of medication. Also, there are oral decongestants like Pseudoephedrine which are good for adults and can be bought over the counter.
Expectorants such as water, hot showers, saline nasal irrigation and steam are perfect for clearing nasal secretions. You should blow your nose gently as doing it forcefully can pass air and bacteria to the sinuses causing a secondary bacterial infection. There are various cough suppressants available over the counter and they work quite well. Some of the best effective ones include Dextromethorphan, Opiod Cough Suppressants and First Generation Antihistamines.
How to avoid spread of infection?
Stay in the house as you are likely to spread acute cold if you are always around people.
The cold can be transmitted easily through nasal secretions and hence you should cover the mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Wash your hands well with water and soap after sneezing and coughing. Overall, try to limit you interaction with people during early days of infection as cold is most contagious then.