10 Symptoms of the common cold You Should Never Ignore

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10 Symptoms of the common cold You Should Never Ignore

The common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. It is one of the most frequent illnesses, with adults experiencing an average of 2-3 colds per year and children even more. While the common cold is usually harmless, it can be quite uncomfortable and can lead to days of missed work or school. Understanding the symptoms of the common cold can help individuals seek proper treatment and get back to feeling their best as quickly as possible.

In this article, we will discuss the various symptoms of the common cold, from the early stages to the later phases. We will also explore how these symptoms may differ in severity from person to person. If you suspect that you or a loved one has caught a cold, read on to learn more about what to expect and how to manage the symptoms.

1. Runny or Stuffy Nose

One of the earliest and most common symptoms of the common cold is a runny or stuffy nose. This occurs as the body’s immune system responds to the presence of the cold virus, leading to inflammation and increased mucus production in the nasal passages. Individuals may experience a clear, watery discharge from the nose, or the mucus may become thicker and yellow or green in color.

To alleviate a runny or stuffy nose, individuals can use over-the-counter decongestants or nasal sprays to reduce congestion and promote better breathing. Drinking plenty of fluids and using a humidifier can also help loosen mucus and ease nasal discomfort.

2. Sore Throat

Many individuals with the common cold also experience a sore throat, which can range from mild discomfort to more severe pain. The throat may feel scratchy, dry, or tender to the touch, and swallowing can become painful. This symptom is caused by inflammation and irritation of the throat tissues as a result of the viral infection.

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To soothe a sore throat, individuals can try drinking warm water with honey and lemon, using throat lozenges or sprays, and gargling with salt water. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also help alleviate throat pain and reduce inflammation.

3. Coughing

Coughing is another common symptom of the common cold and can be a persistent nuisance for many individuals. The cough may be dry and unproductive, or it may produce phlegm or mucus. Coughing is the body’s way of clearing the airways of irritants and excess mucus, and it plays an important role in the healing process.

To manage a cough, individuals can use cough suppressants to reduce the urge to cough, as well as expectorants to help loosen and expel mucus. Drinking plenty of fluids and using a humidifier can also help soothe a dry, irritated throat and alleviate coughing.

4. Sneezing

Sneezing is a reflexive response to nasal irritation and is a common symptom of the common cold. Individuals may find themselves sneezing frequently as the body tries to expel the cold virus and reduce nasal congestion. Sneezing can be accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose and may contribute to feelings of fatigue and discomfort.

To reduce sneezing, individuals can try using over-the-counter antihistamines to control the body’s response to allergens and irritants. Avoiding allergens and irritants, such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, can also help minimize sneezing and promote better respiratory health.

5. Fatigue

Feelings of fatigue and general malaise are common symptoms of the common cold, and many individuals report a significant decrease in energy and motivation while they are sick. Fatigue can be caused by the body’s immune response to the cold virus, as well as disrupted sleep patterns and decreased physical activity.

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To combat fatigue, individuals should aim to get plenty of rest and sleep, stay hydrated, and eat a nutritious diet. Taking short naps and avoiding strenuous physical activity can help the body conserve energy and focus on fighting off the cold virus.

6. Headache

Headaches are a common symptom of the common cold and can range from mild to severe in intensity. The headache may be accompanied by sinus pressure, facial pain, and a feeling of fullness in the head. Headaches can be caused by inflammation and congestion in the sinuses, as well as the body’s immune response to the cold virus.

To alleviate a headache, individuals can try using over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Applying a warm compress to the forehead and sinus areas can also help reduce headache pain and promote relaxation.

7. Mild Fever

Some individuals with the common cold may experience a mild fever, characterized by an elevated body temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or lower. The fever is the body’s natural response to infection and helps the immune system fight off the cold virus. Individuals may also experience chills, body aches, and sweating as the fever comes and goes.

To manage a mild fever, individuals can rest and stay hydrated, as well as use over-the-counter fever reducers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Applying cool compresses to the forehead and body can also help reduce body temperature and promote comfort.

8. Loss of Appetite

Many individuals with the common cold experience a loss of appetite and a decreased interest in eating. This may be due to feelings of nausea, congestion, and a reduced ability to taste and smell food. Loss of appetite can contribute to feelings of fatigue and weakness and may prolong the duration of the illness.

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To maintain proper nutrition while experiencing a loss of appetite, individuals should focus on consuming small, nutrient-dense meals and snacks throughout the day. Eating foods that are easy to digest and rich in vitamins and minerals can help support the body’s immune system and promote faster recovery.

9. Mild Muscle Aches

Mild muscle aches and pains are common symptoms of the common cold and are often described as feelings of soreness and stiffness in the body. The muscle aches may be accompanied by joint pain and general discomfort, and they can contribute to feelings of fatigue and malaise during the illness.

To alleviate muscle aches, individuals can use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Engaging in gentle stretching exercises and practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can also help reduce muscle tension and promote overall comfort.

10. Watery Eyes

Watery eyes are a common symptom of the common cold and can occur as a result of nasal congestion and increased tear production. The eyes may become red, itchy, and watery, and individuals may experience sensitivity to light and difficulty focusing. Watery eyes can add to feelings of fatigue and discomfort during the illness.

To relieve watery eyes, individuals can use over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops to reduce irritation and redness. Applying cool compresses to the eyes can also help soothe discomfort and promote better eye health.