What is a head cold?
A head cold is actually just what most people consider a common cold, caused by one of many viruses which affects the upper respiratory tract and causes symptoms like nasal congestion, headache and runny nose. It typically lasts no longer than ten days and is rarely accompanied by a high fever. Mucus discharge from the throat and nose is usually clear and thin.
Head colds are more common in winter months in countries all around the world. This is not because they are caused by the wintry weather, but because the chilly weather tends to create conditions more conducive to catching and passing on the cold virus. When it’s chilly outside, the air is often dryer (viruses thrive in dry environments). What's more, people spend more time enclosed together inside small spaces, and immune systems can be compromised because of the energy our bodies expend to keep us warm in winter.
The most common symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing and a headache. If there is significant sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes or itchy throat, you may be suffering from an allergic reaction to pollen or other allergens in the environment. If these symptoms persist longer than ten days, consider seeing a doctor about the possibility of allergy treatment.
How to cure it
While you can’t get rid of a head cold with any drugs or home remedies, there are a number of ways to boost your immune system’s abilities and to find relief for your symptoms.
Over the counter medications will not cure a head cold; they can only provide temporary relief for your symptoms. The virus cannot be treated and these medications will not prevent, get rid of, or even shorten its duration. Keep in mind that most medications have side effects and should not be taken for prolonged periods of time.
Make sure you’re drinking no less than ten eight-ounce glasses of water (or juice, broth, tea, etc.) every day. Good ways to get in those fluids include: diluted juice or sports drinks, hot water with lemon and honey, and herbal teas. Drinks to avoid include coffee, black tea, caffeinated sodas and alcohol. However, a single shot of whiskey or tequila with hot water, honey and lemon can be an excellent remedy.
Blowing your nose
Do it often and do it right. Keep your sinuses clear of all that gunk by blowing gently, one nostril at a time, all the time. Sniffling this discharge back up into your sinuses will only prolong your infection and potentially worsen it.
How to avoid them
You can reduce the likelihood of catching a head cold by ensuring that you regularly wash your hands, especially when spending time with children or on airplanes and public transportation. It is also very important to make sure you keep your hands away from your face. Your hands are where you’re most likely to pick up a bug, and your face is where it is most likely to enter your system.
Head colds, especially in children, can occasionally lead to complications. Bronchitis and pneumonia are two of the greatest risks, especially for people with compromised immune systems. In children, they can also lead to ear infections.
If you find your symptoms persisting for more than ten days, or if you begin to feel serious sinus pressure or find your mucus turning dark and thick, these may be signs that your sickness has developed into a bacterial infection. These infections are usually referred to as sinusitis and should be treated by a doctor, who will usually prescribe you antibiotics.
What to do next
As we know, common colds can't be cured by any type of medicine. The best thing to do is to use some remedies to alleviate your symptoms. However, if you do not see improvement in your symptoms within ten days or if your symptoms are very severe, it is a good idea to seek further medical attention.