Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is the best way to get rid of a cold?"
I know that they say there isn't a cure for the common cold, but I've had one for almost a month. How can I make it go away at this point? Is it possible that I have something worse than a cold?
A common cold is caused by a virus that affects the upper airways and sinuses resulting in swelling of the mucous membrane and nasal congestion. Your upper airways will also get irritated and increase mucous secretion causing unwanted running nose. Unless you still have a lot of sinus pressure type of headaches, fevers, sore-throat, malaise, or increased drainage, your body is probably trying to get over the initial insult. A typical cold lasts 4-7 days with residual symptoms of congestion and nasal drainage for a variable time after that. The treatment for viral colds are mainly supportive. You should get plenty of rest and hydration, and avoid dry closed space and air-travels. There are no anti-viral types of treatment for a common cold as there are many strains of virus that can cause a cold. In general, you can also get a bacterial superinfection on top of a viral cold which will make your symptoms much more severe and last longer without proper treatment. This usually involves antibiotics for 5-10 days. Colds can exacerbate other lung disorders like asthma, bronchitis, and copd. Common colds usually do not last more than 1-2 weeks. However, it is not clear what all of your symptoms are and whether or not they are related to your cold so I would suggest that you visit a primary care physician soon.
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