The common cold is usually caused by a viral infection. Lots of viruses can take hold inside your nose, mouth, throat or lungs, and cause cold symptoms. Colds usually last 3 to 7 days in adults and 10 days in children, but some people have symptoms for up to 2 weeks.
Most people get over a cold without lasting problems. Even so, having a cold can be uncomfortable and it can be hard to know when the symptoms call for a trip to the doctor.
Symptoms to watch for:
How can I tell if I have a cold or the flu?
While symptoms of the common cold and the flu can be similar, there are some important differences that distinguishes one from the other. Differences are outlined in Cold vs Flu symptoms table.
|Fever||Rare||Usual; lasts 3 to 4 days|
|General aches, pains||Slight||Usual; often severe|
|Fatigue, weakness||Sometimes||Usual, can last up to 3 weeks|
|Extreme exhaustion||Never||Usual; at the beginning of the illness|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Mild to moderate; hacking cough||Common; can become severe|
What can I do to feel better?
Try over the counter cough and cold medicines. These can treat symptoms, but they won't cure the cold or help you get well faster.
If you do try nonprescription cold medicines, be sure to follow the usage directions on the label. Do not combine two or more medicines that have acetaminophen in them. Too much acetaminophen can damage the liver.
Contact a medical provider if:
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you can schedule an appointment with Medical Services. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 303-492-5432 or online through MyCUHealth.
If you are experiencing these symptoms after hours, contact the 24/7 nurse hotline at 303-492-5101.