Common Cold

Prima Medicine -  - Internal Medicine

Prima Medicine

Internal Medicine located in Fairfax, VA & South Riding, VA

When the symptoms of a cold or persistent cough leave you unwell, Chethana Rao, MD, can help. At Prima Medicine, with offices in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, Dr. Rao and her skilled medical staff offer diagnostics and treatments to alleviate symptoms, so you can start feeling better fast. If your cold symptoms are lingering, call the office for an evaluation or use the convenient online booking system today.

Common Cold Q & A

What causes a cold?

A cold is a viral infection that affects your upper respiratory tract. The virus passes from person to person through physical contact or by touching infected objects.

As a result of the infection, you can experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Mild body aches

You can also have discharge from your nose that’s clear or appears yellow or green.

How long does a cold last?

Typically, cold symptoms can last up to 10 days before you start feeling like yourself again. However, the viral infection can worsen and affect your health in other ways.

You develop additional complications due to a cold virus, such as:

  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infections
  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia

For people with asthma, cold symptoms can trigger breathing difficulties.

What causes a chronic cough?

A cough is a natural reflex that helps you remove excess mucus or debris from your throat. It’s also a common side effect of the cold virus and you can experience persistent coughing when you develop a cold.

Coughing that lasts for three weeks or less is considered to be an acute cough. If you persistently cough for longer than eight weeks, you have a chronic cough.

Common reasons for coughing include:

  • Asthma
  • Smoking
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria

In some cases, constant drainage from your sinuses, known as postnasal drip, can trigger a persistent cough.

What treatments are available for colds and cough?

While there’s no cure for the common cold, Dr. Rao can treat your symptoms and help prevent the infection from spreading to your ears or throat. She’ll likely recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to alleviate your stuffy nose and help you breathe better.

Treating a cough depends on its cause. If your cough relates to a cold virus, Dr. Rao will recommend drinking plenty of fluids and using over-the-counter medications to calm your cough.

If postnasal drip is the reason for your cough, Dr. Rao can prescribe antihistamines to dry up the fluids that irritate your throat.

For coughs relating to asthma or other underlying medical conditions, Dr. Rao can assess your overall health and customize a treatment to address the root cause of your cough.

If your cold symptoms aren’t getting better, don’t delay an evaluation. You can contact Prima Medicine for an appointment by calling the office or using the online booking feature today.