The new year brings travels back home, the start of a new school semester… and germs! Schools, airports and other high-traffic locations become prime places for spreading illnesses indoors during these first few weeks. And our old friend, the common cold, is a willing participant.
Contracting a URI
An upper respiratory infection (URI), also known as the common cold, is an illness caused by a virus that affects the nose and throat. URIs cause inflammation of the respiratory tract and lead to more doctor’s office visits and missed days of school and work than any other illness, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Stop the Spread
Young children are at a greater risk of catching a cold than adults, due to increased indoor time in close proximity to other children. You can catch a cold at any time of year, but they’re most common during winter months because cold-catching viruses are attracted to low-humidity atmospheres.
The most contagious time frame for someone with a cold is during the first two to four days after they’ve been exposed to the viruses. You can catch and/or spread a cold virus two ways: through the air or by direct contact. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus travels through the air and can be breathed in by someone else. Spreading by direct contact typically happens when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after coming in contact with an infected person or an object they touched. Find more tips on how to prevent spreading the infection here.
Hundreds of varieties of viruses can cause symptoms of a cold. These can include runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, headache and fatigue.
Because the common cold is a viral infection, antibiotics are not an effective method for treatment. However, over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines, vitamin C and decongestants can relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms. If symptoms worsen or last more than 10 days, contact a doctor or health professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.
When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Mid City, Bocage, Southdowns, and soon – Delmont.
Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment, but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.