You recognize it just a little too late. Yesterday you woke up with a sore throat and assumed that today it would be better. By lunch you can’t stop sneezing. You keep telling yourself that you’re not sick, repeating this like a mantra in your mind. But then the coughing starts, and your head feels stuffy, and the desire to lie down and fall asleep right where you are crowds every other desire. Eventually you admit the arrival of your long lost enemy—the cold. If you’re like most people, you look at a cold as a boxing opponent that you are determined to beat before it knocks you out. But before you create the best strategy for this battle, let us show you the strategy of the cold.
A Cold’s Strategy: Part 1
After an upper respiratory virus has snuck into your body undetected, it settles in waiting a few days before making its presence known. The introduction usually begins with a tickle in the back of your throat and a slightly runny nose that requires more attention than usual. This is day one of your symptoms. Days two and three represent an unwelcome visit by your old enemy. Clearly this cold has invited himself over, taken off his shoes, and plans to stay for a little while. You will experience a constant runny nose and a more severe sore throat. You may even have a low grade fever under 101 degrees.
Your Strategy: Part 1
During this period, you may be able to muster strength for the day dealing with the annoyance of a sore throat and runny nose. Make sure that you are drinking lots of fluids, washing your hands, and sanitizing shared spaces like countertops, doorknobs, and computers. While you may feel okay, you are very contagious. Being proactive by taking over the counter medications, extra vitamins, and using a saline nasal spray may help you shorten the lifespan of the cold. Take care of your throat by drinking warm beverages with honey or taking a steamy shower. Be sure to give your immune system the power it needs by resting.
A Cold’s Strategy: Part 2
On days four through six, your unwelcome visitor has begun unpacking. He’s not going anywhere soon. You’ll know that he plans to stay in the guest room when your symptoms become more severe. These are typically the worst days for nasal congestion and you may notice your nasal discharge is thicker and even turning yellow or green. Your throat may feel more sore, but the nasal congestion increases the potential for headaches. You begin feeling extremely fatigued. But if you can just hang on a little longer, you’ll be able to fight back, and your unwelcome guest will usually pack up and skip town by day 10. On days seven through nine, you should begin feeling stronger, less tired, and your symptoms should subside.
Your Strategy: Part 2
During days four through six, keeping your nasal passages clear is the best defense against the cold. If you don’t, you’re at a greater risk for a sinus infection. Use a saline rinse, humidifier, and stock up on boxes of tissue to help you get through this period. Continue to drink hot tea and other clear liquids and enjoy some chicken soup for dinner. Even though it may be difficult, the absolute best thing you can do is take time off work and sleep. While it sounds counter-productive, sleep should be your number one strategy. If you do not attack the cold during this time, it will linger for up to 14 days.
When To Call A Doctor
If your symptoms persist for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing something other than a cold and need medical attention. If you have a high grade fever (over 101) for more than 24 hours, experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, have chills, or nasal discharge that is green, brown, or bloody then call a physician immediately. If you are looking for walk-in urgent care near you and need fast but reliable medical services, then stop by one of our five TrustCare Express Medical Clinics today.