The common cold is an infection of the nose, throat, ears, and sinuses caused by any one of hundreds of viruses. Because a virus causes the common cold, physicians will not prescribe antibiotics unless they feel there is a bacterial infection. For people who are healthy, this is usually not a serious condition, and symptoms typically go away in seven to ten days. Symptoms can include a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, body aches, and fever. Coughing, sneezing, or touching hands easily spreads cold viruses from person to person.
- Rest and drink plenty of liquids
- Consume hot water and chicken soup to relieve congestion
- Take Tylenol (acetaminophen*) or Advil (ibuprofen*) for fever, sore throat, and body aches.
- Humidify your bedroom to aid n sleeping
- Wash your hands to prevent spread of the virus to others.
- Apply petroleum jelly or antibiotic cream to the area f your nose is sore from blowing.
- Refrain from using nasal decongestants such as Afrin for more than three days; as the nose can become more congested if such medicines are used too often.
- Treat symptoms such as congestion or cough with over-the-counter decongestants* or cough syrup.
Seek medical attention for any of the following:
- High fever or shaking chills
- Facial pain or other signs of sinusitis
- No improvement in symptoms for two to three weeks
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid contact with people who have colds
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes too often
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid becoming “run down”
- Get plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise to keep your immune system strong.
*These medicines can be found in your dorm office. Follow directions on the back of the packets.