CATCH AND RELEASE: GETTING OVER THE COMMON COLD
People catch over one billion colds in the United States each year. It’s called a “common cold” for good reason. You’ll likely experience more colds in your lifetime than any other illness.1 When you get a cold, you want to get over it as fast as possible. How long does it take? It depends on a few factors. Let’s take a look.
Typical cold symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and cough, can last from 2 to 14 days, though two-thirds of people recover in about a week. However, sometimes a cough that is the result of irritated nerve endings in your airways can stay with you longer. Adults need 18 days on average to completely recover from a cough, and in children a cough can last a good three weeks.2
More than just a cold
A longer lasting cold could be the result of any secondary bacterial infections that occur, such as in your sinuses. Infections like these require treatment with antibiotics. High fever, significantly swollen glands, severe facial pain in the sinuses, and a cough that produces mucus, may indicate a complication or more serious illness that also requires a doctor's attention.3
Make healthier choices
How long it takes to beat a cold can be affected by lifestyle choices. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids can aid in a speedier recovery from most symptoms. Also, using a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer can be especially helpful for sore throats and sinus congestion. If you’re a smoker, refraining from having a cigarette or being around secondhand smoke can help in recovery from those symptoms as well.4
Use only as directed.
While nothing can immediately cure a cold, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines such as Theraflu® can ease your severe symptoms and help you get back on your feet. Symptom relief, especially at night, can help you rest easier and in turn aid in recovery. If symptoms persist, it would be wise to consult your doctor.
1. Vorvick, L. J., MD. (2015, January 31). Common Cold. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000678.htm
2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2014, April 23). Common Colds: Overview. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072727/
3. Villanova University. (n.d.). About The Common Cold. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/studentlife/health/promotion/goto/resources/illnesses.html
4. Symptom Relief. (2015, April 17). Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/for-patients/symptom-relief.html
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