Colds are caused by a virus. Cold symptoms include nasal congestion (blocked nose), nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, mild fever, headache, earache, and red, watery eyes.
Nothing will cure a cold, but treatments can relieve some of the unpleasant symptoms. It is very important that people know what ingredients are in a cold remedy because of the dangers of duplicating treatment. For example, many contain paracetamol, so if you take another product with paracetamol in it, an overdose may occur.
What can you do to help relieve cold symptoms?
The following tips may help.
- Warm, moist air can help to relieve some cold symptoms.
- Use soft tissues for blowing the nose as the area around the nose tends to become sore and irritated. Barrier cream may help protect the skin around the nose.
- Vitamin C may also help reduce the severity and duration of a cold.
When should you seek medical advice?
You should seek medical advice if:
- the discharge is from only one nostril;
- the nasal discharge is thick and coloured or cloudy;
- the nasal discharge is smelly;
- there is a very high temperature and/or the person is feeling unwell;
- there is earache or facial or sinus pain;
- the cold has lasted more than one week; or
- the person is a baby, or a child under 7 years old.
Last Reviewed: 28 May 2002