Are you getting the sniffles and sneezing more than usual?

A common cold, also known as a head cold, is a mild illness that can leave you feeling tired and run down. A cough and sore throat are the most common symptoms accompanying a head cold, which can last for several days.

Those with a weakened immune system are more likely to develop a serious illness stemming from a head cold. This can quickly lead to bronchitis, a sinus infection or pneumonia. 

Even a normal cold can disrupt your daily functioning and leave you feeling miserable. The average person catches a cold up to four times a year, and children can suffer from up to 10 colds a year.

What exactly is a head cold?

All types of colds are respiratory infections caused by viruses known as “rhinoviruses”. Rhinoviruses have also been linked to sinus and ear infections, as well as asthma attacks. The different terms usually refer to where your symptoms are most prevalent, like a “head cold” or “chest cold”. 

The symptoms of a head cold include a stuffy, runny nose and watery eyes. A chest cold causes chest congestion and a cough. Viral bronchitis is also known as a chest cold.

How is it treated?

A head cold is highly contagious and can be spread through coughing or sneezing. Although there’s no cure for a head cold, some home remedies can give you relief from the symptoms. 

Good to know: antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections.

Here are some home remedies for aches, pains, and sniffles:

  • Get plenty of rest to heal and avoid spreading the virus.
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially hot soothers like tea, broth, and soup. Skip caffeine and alcohol until you have fully recovered.
  • Over-the-counter medications and nasal sprays may help loosen mucus. This can alleviate symptoms but won’t necessarily speed up recovery. Always read the label and take medication exactly as directed.
  • Gargle regularly with saltwater to relieve a sore throat. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, gargle and spit out. 

Should I see a doctor? 

A cold is typically mild and should resolve itself within 10 days. More severe symptoms or a longer duration shouldn’t be ignored though, so definitely see your doctor if it worsens. 

Always check with your doctor if you have more serious symptoms like:

  • Breathing difficulties or wheezing.
  • A fever of 38.5°C or higher.
  • A severe sore throat.
  • A severe headache, especially if you have a fever.
  • A cough that is difficult to stop or doesn’t go away.
  • Earache.
  • Persistent pain in the area of your nose, eyes, or forehead.
  • Rash.
  • Extreme exhaustion.
  • Confusion and dizziness.


Avoid contact with people who are infected with the virus. Keep a safe distance from anyone who has a head cold to reduce your chances of contracting the virus.

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • To reduce the spread of the virus, don’t share items, drinks or utensils, and use a disinfectant on all household items.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and do some light exercise (if possible) to help your immune system fight off the illness. 


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.