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Cold Symptoms in COVID Times

Cold Symptoms in COVID Times

Over the last two years, testing for viral illness has changed with the introduction of new coronavirus strains and rapid COVID tests. Fortunately, our treatment of most viral illnesses, including COVID, can remain the same. While being tested for COVID may help guide your time to quarantine and help prevent the spread of the virus, the treatment for mild coronavirus cases is the same as treatment for our normal ‘cold and flu’ cases.

When deciding on treatment for cold or upper respiratory symptoms, I recommend my patients do supportive care. This includes a broad variety of treatments that can make you feel better until your own immune system is able to overcome the illness. Most of the time, it is safe to do supportive care including treatments for fever, runny nose, cough and other symptoms for 1-2 weeks, which is the expected length of a viral infection. None of the treatments will cure an infection, but they will help until you begin feeling better. If you notice difficulty breathing or if you are unable to stay hydrated, it is important to be seen by a physician.

woman with a headache

There are a couple of other medications which are frequently discussed. In addition to supportive care, there is an anti-viral for influenza that can shorten your length of illness, which is available by prescription. On the other hand, antibiotics are commonly discussed, but are not helpful for viral infections and may lead to increased side effects including rashes, diarrhea, C. difficile infection, nausea, or vomiting.

Common Symptoms & Care

Common symptoms and treatments of headaches, body aches and fevers include: 

  • Tylenol and Ibuprofen
  • Ice or Heat packs
  • Sleep
  • Drinking fluids

Common symptoms and treatments for a cough:

  • Honey (only if over 1 year of age)
  • Over the counter cough drops or throat numbing sprays

Common symptoms and treatments for a runny or stuffy nose:

  • Nasal rinses (such as a Neti pot)
  • Decongestant nasal sprays for up to 3-5 days (Afrin is the most common)
  • Saline drops and bulb suction (for little ones)

man wearing a mask and coughing

When taking care of yourself, please remember not to exceed the maximum dose of Tylenol or ibuprofen in a 24-hour period. While I wish I had more medications that would treat viral infections, I am thankful that supportive care can help make my patients feel better and encourage you to try these methods when you are feeling ill to help decrease your symptoms.

Stay safe!

If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you want to get a vaccine, Altru Express Care has you covered. Make an appointment today.