Cough, Cold, Runny Nose
The Dark Side of Autumn. While turning leaves and a cool breeze are lovely, Snot is Not. A common head or chest cold most often includes a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, and of course coughing. These symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks. Did you know that while rhinovirus is the most common type of virus, there are actually over 200 viruses that can cause colds?
Preventing the Common Cold
- Practice good hand hygiene - wash regularly with antibacterial soap, carry hand wipes or hand sanitizer and use them!
- Avoid contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections
- If you catch cold - stay home if possible, otherwise always cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing to avoid spreading the infection - and clean your phones, keyboards, mouse, and work areas at school or work whenever you sit down or leave.
Signs and Symptoms of the Common Cold
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Mild headache
- Mild body aches
Cough and cold medications that contain nasal decongestants, antihistamines, cough suppressants, and expectorants commonly are used alone or in combination in attempts to temporarily relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in children aged <2 years. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System--Cooperative Adverse Drug Events Surveillance project, which is jointly operated by CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission: During 2004--2005 alone, an estimated 1,519 children aged <2 years were treated in U.S. emergency departments for adverse events, including overdoses, associated with cough and cold medications.Tips for Safety at Home with Over-the-Counter Cold Remedies:
- Throw away old cold and cough medicines labeled for children less than age 4.
- Read the label carefully to see what ingredients are in any medicine you give your child.
For tips on safely managing coughs and colds, talk to your child's doctor or your pharmacist.
- Don't leave any medicines where your child might be able to reach them.
- Don't tell children that medicine is candy.
- Don't take adult medicines in front of your child.
- Don't give children younger than age 4 any medicines intended for older children.
- Don't give your child two medicines that contain the same ingredients.
Antibiotics are Needed When…Antibiotics are needed only if your healthcare provider tells you that you or your child has a bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider may prescribe other medicine or give tips to help with a cold's symptoms, but antibiotics are not needed to treat a cold or runny nose.
Antibiotics Will Not Help if…Since the common cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help it get better. A runny nose or cold almost always gets better on its own, so it is better to wait and take antibiotics only when they are needed. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can be harmful, and may lead to unwanted side effects like diarrhea, rashes, nausea, and stomach pain. More severe side effects may rarely occur, including life-threatening allergic reactions, kidney toxicity, and severe skin reactions. Each time you or your child takes an antibiotic, the bacteria that normally live in your body (on the skin, in the intestine, in the mouth and nose, etc.) are more likely to become resistant to antibiotics. Common antibiotics cannot kill infections caused by these resistant germs.
See a Healthcare Provider if You or Your Child has:
- Temperature higher than 100.4° F
- Symptoms that last more than 10 days
- Symptoms that are not relieved by over-the-counter medicines
- Avoid the Common Cold
- Contain your Illness to avoid infecting others if you fall sick
- Treat the symptoms to recover
- Be responsible and careful with children, medications, and illness
- Know when self-treatment is not enough and it's time to sesk professional help