Head cold symptoms: Know the signs

Find out if your symptoms suggest a head cold

There are a number of variations on what we consider to be the common cold. A frequently mentioned one is the head cold. A head cold is actually the very same thing as the common cold, and affects the upper respiratory tract of patients. Once a head cold infection progresses and travels down to affect the lungs and lower respiratory tract, it is known as a chest cold. 

Contrary to popular belief, a head cold is not brought about by spending time out in the cold. A head cold in a patient is caused by one of a great number of viruses that cause head colds. It is true, however, that cold viruses tend to thrive during the winter months due to typically dry air, people spending time together in close quarters and diminished immune function when our bodies are fighting to stay warm.

The duration of a head cold is usually no longer than ten days and symptoms, though irritating, are generally mild. These symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

Nasal congestion
This is probably the most common of all head cold symptoms and is a result of infected or inflamed sinuses. Patients with a head cold may suffer also from a runny nose with clear, thin mucus discharge, either in concert with the nasal congestion or before or after.
Sneezing is a symptom of both head colds and allergies. If you find that your sneezing is constant or that you are also suffering from puffy or itchy eyes, watery eyes or an itchy throat, it is likely that you are suffering from allergies rather than a head cold.
Sometimes a head cold is accompanied by a mild fever of no more than 102° F. If your fever is higher than this, contact your doctor for advice.
As your body tries to defend itself from infection, it spends a great deal of energy and attention to immune function and less to other tasks. This means that it’s common for people suffering a chest cold to feel extremely tired or worn out and drained of energy.
A mild headache is a common symptom of a head cold and can be a result of nasal blockage and constant nose blowing.
Be sure to watch for a fever of over 102° F, or for symptoms lasting for more than two weeks. If either of these occur, contact your doctor.
  • Tags: cold head cold headache medication
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Categories: Head, Cold

Michelle Spatz, Amanda Maynes

Comments (2)

  • Bob


    08 March 2012 at 17:51 |
    Your best bet for sinus congestion is ipbfrouen. Most OTC meds for nasal-related symptoms don't actually do anything. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation. This will ease the pressure on your sinuses, allow you to get more air, and hopefully reduce/eliminate the headache.Good luck at your regionals.
  • Kathy


    10 April 2013 at 01:32 |
    I find keeping Ease-A-Cold's Head Cold Fighter in the kitchen drawer ready to take works well at the first sign of a sniffle. Also a tiny bit of Vicks high up each blocked nostril better than nasal sprays (and cheaper). Yes, Ibuprofen x 2 great for persistent head cold headache. Hot blackcurrant juice with lemon and Anticol if throat sore.

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