The Common Cold

posted on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 in  Parent Newsletter

Welcome to common cold season! Included is some helpful information to share with your student over Holiday break.

The common cold is a virus. The virus is what causes the common cold not the temperature outside. When temperatures dip, most people spend more time indoors — where they may have prolonged contact with others who may be sick. You "catch," or acquire the cold by having hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects such as doorknobs, computer keyboards or telephones. The lesson: wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially if you have been around someone who has a cold.

Fluids can improve symptoms. Drinking plenty of liquids, such as water, juice, clear broth or chicken soup. These liquids help loosen mucus that can cause congestion and help prevent dehydration. Warm liquids can help ease a sore throat.

Humidity helps. You can ease congestion and coughing by using a cool mist humidifier, leaning over a bowl or sink of hot water with a towel over your head, or breathing in steamy air created by a bathroom shower.

Pain relievers reduce fever and headaches. Acetaminophen will reduce a fever and ease sore throat pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) — including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, also are an option but can cause stomach upset.

Decongestants help ease stuffiness. They shrink swollen tissue inside the nose. Talk with your doctor before using a decongestant if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, glaucoma, thyroid problems or diabetes.

Hang in there for about a week. One week is how long most colds last. If your symptoms seem severe and more flu-like — high fever, body aches and loss of appetite — see your doctor.

Hawkeye Student Health Clinic


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