Coughs and colds aren’t just around during the winter, you can catch them all year round. At our local Urgent Care Clinic in Oklahoma City we know exactly how to help!
A cold is a very mild infection of the nose, throat, sinuses, and upper airwaves. It can cause a blocked nose, followed by a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and cough. It is very different to flu.
In adults and older children, the cold will usually last for about a week as the body fights off the infection. In children it can last up to two weeks. Over 200 different types of viruses can cause a cold, and because of this it is possible to have several colds one after another.
Please visit our Urgent Care Clinic in Northeast Oklahoma City, walk – ins welcomed. Colds and Coughs are very serious, please do not delay, meet with one of our Health Care Providers as soon as possible.
How does a cold spread?
A cold can spread through:
• direct contact – if you sneeze or cough, tiny droplets of fluid containing the cold virus are launched into the air and can be breathed in by others
• indirect contact – if you sneeze onto a door handle and someone else touches the handle a few minutes later, they may catch a cold virus if they touch their nose or mouth.
In general a person first becomes contagious two to three days before their symptoms begin, and they remain contagious when all their symptoms have gone. Most people will be contagious for around two weeks.
How can I prevent a cold spreading?
• wash your hands regularly and properly, particularly after touching your nose or mouth and before handling food
• always sneeze and cough into tissues
• clean surfaces regularly
• use your own cup, plate, cutlery and utensils
• use disposable towels to dry your face and hands.
A cough is a reflex action to clear your airwaves of mucus and irritants such as dust or smoke.
Most coughs clear up on their own within three weeks and don’t usually require treatment or a trip to see your GP but home remedies such as honey and lemon can be used to treat symptoms. There is little evidence to show that cough medicines will be any more effective than these.
What causes a cough?
Most coughs are caused by a virus. Other possible non-infectious causes include:
• allergic rhinitis, such as hay fever
• a flare up of a long term condition such as asthma , COPD or chronic bronchitis
• gastro-oesophageal reflux disease – due to irritation and damage cause by stomach acid
Dry or chesty cough?
Dry coughs are usually felt in the throat as a tickle that sets off the coughing. It happens when the throat and upper airways become inflamed (swollen). No phlegm (thick mucus) is produced.
The common cold or flu causes a dry cough because your brain thinks the inflammation in your throat is a foreign object and tries to remove it by coughing.
A chest cough usually produces phlegm. The cough is helpful, because it clears the phlegm from your lung passages.
Treating your cough
- There is no quick way to get rid of a cough; it will usually clear up after your immune system has fought off the virus.
- If there is an underlying condition causing the cough, this will need specific treatment.
- The simplest and cheapest way to treat a short term cough may be a homemade remedy containing lemon and honey. The honey is a demulcent, which means it coats the throat and relieves the irritation that causes coughing.
- Cough medicines – There is little evidence to suggest these actually work any better than homemade remedies
- Cough suppressants – Cough suppressants such as pholcodine, dextromethorphan and antihistamines, act on
the brain to hold back the cough reflex. They are used for dry coughs only. Check with your GP before taking cold suppressants.
- Expectorants – Expectorants help bring phlegm up so coughing is easier which may help chesty coughs.
- Quit smoking – If you have a cough caused by smoking you will quickly start to notice the benefits of quitting. Three to nine months after you stop smoking, your breathing will have improved, and you will no longer have a cough or wheeze.
Giving up smoking also increases your chances of living a longer healthier life. Other health benefits include:
• after a month your skin will be clearer, brighter and more hydrated
• after one year your risk of heart attack and heart disease will have fallen to about half that of a smoker.
Urgent Care Services NW OKC
Charter Immediate Care Clinic
NE CORNER OF MAY & BRITTON (IN THE LUBY’S SHOPPING CENTER)
9402 N. May Ave
Oklahoma City OK 73120