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Cold Symptoms, Ambulatory Care

Cold symptoms

include sneezing, dry throat, a stuffy nose, headache, watery eyes, and a cough. Your cough may be dry, or you may cough up mucus. You may also have muscle aches, joint pain, and tiredness. Rarely, you may have a fever. Cold symptoms occur from inflammation in your upper respiratory system caused by a virus. Most colds go away without treatment.

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • A heartbeat that is much faster than usual for you
  • A swollen neck that is sore to the touch
  • Increased tiredness and weakness
  • Pinpoint or larger reddish-purple dots on your skin
  • Poor or no appetite

Treatment for cold symptoms

may include NSAIDS to decrease muscle aches and fever. Cold medicines may also be given to decrease coughing, nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and a runny nose.

Manage your cold symptoms with the following:

  • Drink liquids to help thin and loosen thick mucus so you can cough it up. Liquids will also keep you hydrated. Ask your healthcare provider which liquids are best for you and how much to drink each day.
  • Do not smoke because it may worsen your symptoms and increase the length of time you feel sick. Talk with your healthcare provider if you need help to stop smoking.

Prevent the spread of germs

by washing your hands often. You can spread your cold germs to others for at least 3 days after your symptoms start. Do not share items, such as eating utensils. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze using the crook of your elbow instead of your hands. Throw used tissues in the garbage.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.