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How to Treat Common Cold

Updated on May 27, 2015

Common cold (nasopharyngitis111 or simply a cold) refers to a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract of a person-the throat and nose. It is normally harmless, although sometimes it may not be that way. It is either a runny nose, cough and sore throat, watery eyes congestion and sneezing. It may also be all of the above. As a matter of fact, since any one among 100 viruses may cause common cold, the symptoms and signs tend to vary greatly. The population at the highest risk of frequent colds is pre-school children although healthy adults should also expect a few colds every year. Several people recover from cold in almost a week or two. In case the symptoms don’t improve, they should see a doctor. There are several ways of treating a common cold, this papers addresses some of this methods in detail.

Over-the-counter Cold Medications

There are major medications used in treating cold symptoms, this are: Decongestants which mainly serve to relieve a blocked nose, painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol which can assist in relieving high temperature (fever) and aches, and cold medicines which contain a combination of decongestants and painkillers. These are available from all pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. They are safe generally for adults and older children to take, but may not be proper for young children, babies, pregnant women, people taking other certain medication and people with certain fundamental health conditions. Users must always read the information on the leaflet that comes with the medicine before they take it, and keenly follow the dosage instructions that the doctor gives. In case one is not sure which treatment is suitable for their children, they should speak to a pharmacist for more advice. Below is more detailed information about over—the-counter medications (Hemilä H et al 2007).


Ibuprofen and paracetamol can assist in reducing fever and act as painkiller at the same time. Aspirin can also help, but is not normally recommended for common cold and as such should not be offered to children under the age of 16.In case a child has a cold, parents should administer age-appropriate versions of ibuprofen and paracetamol (usually in form of liquid). Parents must follow the instructions of the manufacturer to make sure the correct dose is administered.

Taking both of these at the same time may not be usually necessary for a common cold and especially should be avoided since it might be unsafe.Ibuprofen and paracetamol are also included in other cold medicines .If one is taking painkillers, and also would like to take a cold medicine, they must first check the patient information leaflet and/or ask a pharmacist or GP to get advice and avoid surpassing the recommended dose. For pregnant women, the most preferred choice for treating mild to moderate fever and pain is paracetamol.


These can be taken orally (mouth decongestants) or as a spray or drops into ones nose (nasal decongestants). They help in making breathing easy and reducing swelling inside one’s nose. Nevertheless, they’re only effective generally for a short period and if used for more than a week may make a blocked nose worse(Singh M et al 2011). Decongestants are usually not recommended for children under the age of six years and those bellow 12 years must not use them unless with advice from a GP or pharmacist. They are also not seemly for people with fundamental medical disorders and those using certain medications.


To sum up, until someone is feeling much better, it may be good to drink plenty of fluids so as to replace those lost from the sweating and runny nose. They should also get plenty of rest. Lastly, eating healthy will also come in handy. Ahigh-fibre, low-fat, diet is recommended, containing plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit.


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