Alternate Names : Upper Respiratory Infection, URI, Common COLD, Viral Pharyngitis, Viral URI
What are the treatments for the infection?
Colds are generally treated by addressing the person's symptoms. Bed rest and drinking
plenty of fluids can help prevent some complications. Antibiotics do not work
against the viruses and can reduce the body's ability to fight viruses.
Medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin can help reduce fever and muscle aches. Because of the risk of a
serious condition called Reye's syndrome, children should never be
Medications that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers safe and
effective for treatment of colds include:
nasal decongestants in the form of sprays, drops, or oral medications.
These medications open up the nasal passageways and make breathing easier.
cough suppressants in the form of oral medications, throat lozenges,
ointments to be rubbed on the chest, and ointments used in humidifiers and
vaporizers. These medications can relieve coughs caused by an irritated
expectorants, which are taken by mouth to loosen mucus and make it easier
to cough up phlegm
clemastine fumarate, which is currently the only antihistamine approved for
cold symptoms. Antihistamines generally dry up nasal secretions.
A decongestant called phenylpropanolamine, or PPA, which is found in many over-the-counter
cold remedies, has recently been linked to
strokes in young women. The FDA has
requested that manufacturers stop producing medications containing PPA. In view
of the FDA's public health advisory, anyone who has products at home containing
phenylpropanolamine should discard them.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects of fever-fighting medications such as ibuprofen,
aspirin, and acetaminophen include stomach upset and allergic reactions. Other medications used to treat a
cold may cause drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, or allergic
What happens after treatment for the infection?
Cold symptoms usually go away completely in 7 to 10 days. Some adults and
children may have secondary ear
infections or sinus infections.
How is the infection monitored?
Cold symptoms usually clear up within 7 to 10 days. Any new or worsening
symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.