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:
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.