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How Can I Reduce Spread In My Household

How to tell the flu from a cold

The advice is to try to keep your distance from people you live with, particularly those whose immune system is weaker than normal.

You can also open windows in rooms for 10 minutes after someone with symptoms has left.

Cleaning frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and remote controls can protect people in your house from Covid and other viruses.

When To See A Doctor

In most cases, symptoms of the common cold are not cause for concern and can be treated with fluids and rest. But colds are not to be taken lightly in infants, older adults, and those with chronic health conditions. A common cold can even be fatal to the most vulnerable members of society if it turns into a serious chest infection like bronchiolitis, caused by the respiratory syncytial virus .

What If I’m Worried About My Symptoms

Most people can be treated for Covid at home, as with any other mild respiratory illness. You should get plenty of rest and drink water to keep hydrated.

You can take paracetamol to relieve headaches and muscle aches or pains, but antibiotics won’t work against viral infections like Covid.

If you’re having trouble breathing, contact your doctor, or use the NHS 111 coronavirus service online.

If you’re very worried about sudden shortness of breath, call 999.

The NHS also advises:

  • if your child seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there’s something seriously wrong, call 999
  • don’t delay getting help if you’re worried, trust your instincts

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Why Won’t My Doctor Prescribe Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Colds are caused by viruses, so do not respond to antibiotics.

The overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, where bacterial infections become less easily treatable.

Your doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics only if your child has developed a bacterial infection in addition to their cold.

The Common Cold Symptoms

A Set Of Images With Signs Of Illness.Cough, Sneeze,headache,fever ...

The common cold is the most common upper respiratory tract infection. More than 200 different viruses can cause colds. Symptoms usually develop 1 3 days after being exposed to the virus.

  • It nearly always starts rapidly with throat irritation and stuffiness in the nose.
  • Within hours, full-blown cold symptoms usually develop, which can include sneezing, mild sore throat, fever, minor headaches, muscle aches, and coughing.
  • Fever is low-grade or absent. In small children, however, fever may be as high as 103 °F for 1 or 2 days. The fever should go down after that time, and be back to normal by the 5th day.
  • Nasal discharge is usually clear and runny the first 1 3 days. It then thickens and becomes yellow to greenish.
  • The sore throat is usually mild and lasts only about a day. A runny nose usually lasts 2 7 days, although coughing and nasal discharge can persist for more than 2 weeks.

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Should A Person Get A Test If They Have A Runny Nose

Recent data from the United Kingdom Zoe COVID Symptom study suggest that delta variant infections manifest with a headache, followed by a sore throat, a runny nose, and a fever. For this reason, anyone with a runny nose should consider getting a COVID-19 test.

For people living in the U.K., tests are not yet available for those with just a runny nose. However, individuals can take a lateral flow test at home.

Additionally, if a person is concerned about or unsure of the cause of their runny nose, they could contact a doctor or book a COVID-19 test.

However, it is also important to remember that allergies such as hay fever are common during the summer months. If a person usually experiences hay fever, their runny nose may be due to that rather than COVID-19.

The CDC has an advice page on how a person can get a COVID-19 test. It recommends that a person contacts a healthcare professional or visits their health departmentâs website to get information on local testing.

If a healthcare professional is unable to perform the test, a person may receive an at-home test kit.

  • a loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath

About Author: Lisa Coon

Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.

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What If I Have To Leave Home

If you can’t stay at home while you feel unwell, you can reduce the chances of passing on the infection you have by:

  • wearing a well-fitting face mask
  • avoiding crowded places such as public transport or large indoor gatherings
  • taking exercise outdoors
  • covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands frequently

Runny Nose Or Nasal Congestion

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose? Pineapple Health offers advanced allergy treatments

A runny nose or nasal congestion are two of the most common symptoms of a cold. These symptoms result when excess fluid causes blood vessels and mucous membranes within the nose to swell. Within three days, nasal discharge tends to become thicker and yellow or green in color. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , these types of nasal discharge are normal. Someone with a cold also may have postnasal drip, where mucus travels from the nose down to the throat.

These nasal symptoms are common with colds. However, call your doctor if they last more than 10 days, you begin to have yellow/green nasal discharge, or a severe headache or sinus pain, as you may have developed a sinus infection .

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What Can I Do To Feel Better

There is no cure for a cold or the flu. Antibiotics donât work against viruses. Unless you have the flu and see your doctor within two days after your symptoms start, all you can do to feel better is treat your symptoms while your body fights off the virus. You can also use over-the-counter cold medicines to help you feel better. Do not give children cold medicine without checking with your doctor first. People who take prescription medicine also should check with their doctor before taking over-the-counter cold medicine.

Stuffy Nose: May Mean A Cold

Unless you’re also feverish, very achy, and just plain zapped of energy, you likely have a cold — although many people with the flu also say they have a stuffy nose and sneezing.

Both colds and the flu can lead to sinus infections. In addition to thick yellow or green nasal discharge, sinus infections can cause headaches and pain in the forehead, cheeks, and nasal bridge. The pain usually gets worse with sudden head movement or strain. Sometimes, you can get a secondary bacterial infection that needs antibiotic treatment.

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When To Seek Medical Care

See a doctor if you have:

  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Fever that lasts longer than 4 days
  • Symptoms that last more than 10 days without improvement
  • Symptoms, such as fever or cough, that improve but then return or worsen
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.

Colds can have similar symptoms to flu. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Learn more about differences between cold and flu.

When you have a cold, mucus fills your nose and could cause post-nasal drip, headache, and a sore throat.

How Can I Help My Child Feel Better

A Set Of Images With Signs Of Illness.The Girl Has A Cough,sneezing ...

Home care can help your child feel better while battling strep throat. Give plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, such as water or ginger ale, especially if your child had a fever. Avoid orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade, or other acidic beverages, which can irritate a sore throat. Warm liquids like soups, sweetened tea, or hot chocolate can be soothing.

For fever and pain, your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Follow the package directions on how much to give and when.

Talk to your doctor about when your child can return to normal activities. Most kids can go back to school when they’ve taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours and no longer have a fever.

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How Is Strep Throat Diagnosed

If your child has a sore throat and other strep throat symptoms, call your doctor. The doctor will likely do a rapid strep test in the office, using a cotton swab to take a sample of the fluids at the back of the throat. The test only takes about 5 minutes.

If it’s positive, your child has strep throat. If it’s negative, the doctor will send a sample to a lab for a throat culture. The results are usually available within a few days.

How Do I Order At

At-home test kits can be ordered and shipped for free online at, and local testing locations can be found through the Ohio Department of Health website at

If a test is negative but your symptoms persist, you should continue to isolate and test over the next few days, said Dr. Mark Herbert, infectious disease specialist at Mount Carmel Medical Group.

“If you know that there are people around you that seem sick then you should avoid settings,” Herbert said. “Similarly, if you are feeling sick, you should not go around other people until you’re feeling better or you know for sure that you don’t have COVID.”

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Signs Of Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are caused by the immune system reacting to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds as if they were harmful to the body. This reaction causes symptoms that can be similar to a cold. Seasonal allergies occur at the same time each year. If your child has allergy symptoms all year long, he or she may be allergic to things in the home, such as dust mites, animals, mold and cockroaches.

Allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, which aren’t typical signs of a cold or flu.

Other common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Itchy nose, throat, eyes, and ears
  • Nosebleeds

Is There A Seasonal Pattern To The Congestion

RhinAer to Treat Chronic Runny Nose and Congestion
  • The cold and the flu tend to hit in the fall and winter.
  • Recurring nasal congestion in the spring, summer or fall, especially if it happens every year, could indicate allergies to pollen from trees, grass or weeds.
  • Chronic year-round nasal congestion could be a sign of allergy to dust mites or pets.
  • Chronic nasal congestion can also be seen in children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

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If You Spot Any Of The Below

Written by Satata Karmakar | Updated : December 27, 2021 2:31 PM IST

First detected in South Africa, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the countries. In India, there are currently 578 cases associated with this new COVID strain. Omicron was categorized as a ‘Variant of Concern’ by the World Health Organisation last month. Since then experts have been warning people to take extra precautions to stay safe from getting infected by the variant. As cases are rising globally, a team of United Kingdom researchers has issued a fresh warning that if you have a sore throat, runny nose, and a headache, there is a good chance it will be COVID-19.

According to the reports, half of the populations who have been diagnosed with the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 had only cold-like symptoms. “For most, Covid is a mild disease, some get no symptoms at all. But it can still cause very serious illness in some people, including those who have not been vaccinated,” lead scientist Tim Spector quoted as saying. He further added, “For most people, an Omicron positive case will feel much more like a common cold, starting with a sore throat, runny nose, and a headache. You only need to ask a friend who has recently tested positive to find this out.”

Symptoms Of A Common Cold

The symptoms of a cold usually develop within a few days of becoming infected.

The main symptoms include:

  • you have a persistent high temperature
  • you become confused or disorientated
  • you have a sharp pain in your chest
  • you cough up bloodstained phlegm
  • your symptoms last longer than three weeks

In these cases, you could have a bacterial infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics.

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Who Is At High Risk From Covid

For most people who’ve been vaccinated – and children, even if they haven’t had a jab – Covid infections are usually mild, and typically last for up to a week.

But some groups are still at higher risk and need protecting from Covid and other respiratory infections, including:

  • older people
  • people of any age whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness
  • people of any age with certain long-term conditions

Some very young children who were born prematurely or who have heart conditions are also at risk from RSV, another respiratory virus.

How To Prevent Catching A Cold

Symptoms of an allergy in humans: sneezing, runny nose, headache, cough ...

The best ways to avoid catching a cold are:

  • washing your hands with warm water and soap, especially before eating
  • not sharing towels or household items, like cups, with someone who has a cold
  • not touching your eyes or nose. You can infect your body if you’ve come into contact with the virus.
  • staying fit and healthy

The flu vaccine helps prevent flu but not colds.

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Get Advice From A Nurse

Our care lines make it easy for you to talk directly with a nurse 24/7, 365 days a year. The best part? Its completely free of charge.

Our nurses can help you decide if its time to see a doctor and give you some additional home remedy advice. To talk with a nurse, you can call the HealthPartners CareLine at or the Park Nicollet Nurse Line at .

Despite Symptoms Its Not The Flu

COVID-19 is not the flu.

As one of a class of pathogens known as coronaviruses, COVID-19 is actually more closely related to the common cold than the seasonal flu.

However, despite some overlap, the typical symptoms of COVID-19 are more similar to the flu than the common cold .

The Delta variant, however, may have more cold-like symptoms.

In terms of differentiating between flu and COVID-19, it can be almost impossible to distinguish, Dr. Jake Deutsch, co-founder and clinical director of Cure Urgent Care and Specialty Infusion in New York. Thats why people are recommended to have flu vaccinations so it can at least minimize the risk of flu in light of everything else.

Fevers, body aches, coughing, sneezing could all be equally attributed to them both, so it really means that if theres a concern for flu, theres a concern for COVID-19, Deutsch said.

When and where you get sick might be the best predictor of whether you have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, Yildirim said.

People living in communities with low vaccination rates and high rates of COVID-19 are more likely to have COVID-19, she said, especially outside of cold and flu season.

However, she said, differentiating becomes more difficult during the winter, when all three diseases may be widespread.

If you have a mild case of COVID-19, the flu, or a cold, treatment is geared toward management of symptoms, said Cutler.

Mild cases of COVID-19 are thought to last approximately 2 weeks, said Cutler.

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Runny Nose Sneezing And Cough Is It A Cold Or Allergies

While patients with a cold and allergies generally have the same symptoms , they are different diseases.


A cold is caused by a virus that affects the upper respiratory tract . This leads to symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, and sneezing. Patients with a cold are more likely to have general aches/pain and low-grade fever than patients with allergies. Nasal drainage is usually thick and yellow/green.

There are many different viruses that cause a common cold with the most common being rhinovirus. Symptoms usually last for 1-2 weeks. A cold is acquired when coming into contact with the virus from another person either by direct physical contact from a contaminated surface or from respiratory droplets from a sneeze or cough. Treatment includes pain relievers such as Tylenol, nasal decongestants, expectorants and cough suppressants.


On the other hand, allergies are caused by an abnormal immune response in the body to an environmental substance. The substance can be inhaled, ingested or come into contact with the skin. The body is too hypersensitive to these substances which include such substances as pollen, dust, medications, bee sting and peanuts.

This is all mediated by a specific antibody in the body called IgE. Allergy treatment focuses on reducing this hypersensitizes by blocking certain parts of this process such as antihistamines block histamine and allergy shots decrease IgE levels.


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