Colds are an infection of the nose, throat or throat. It is almost always caused by a virus. Colds usually go by themselves, but there is much you can do to relieve the symptoms.

Symptoms of cold

When you are cold, it is common for you to feel tired and hungry.

It is also common to have one or more of the following symptoms of cold:

  • sniff or nasal congestion 
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • headache.

Colds can also cause a fever, but it is usually not high. It is more common for children to have a fever in a cold than adults get it.

Sometimes the cold can cause symptoms from the eyes and ears. The eyes can become flushed and sometimes a little permanent. You can also get a feel for the ears.


The snout is usually water-thin at first, but after a few days it can become more viscous. It is natural and not a sign of any complication.


When the mucous membranes in the trachea become irritated, it is common to get reticulated. After a while, more mucus can form in the airways and the reticulated cough becomes mucous.

The upholstery may be yellow or green in color. It is a natural consequence of common cold viruses and is not a sign of a complication.

The cough may remain for a while

The cough may remain for a while after the cold. This is because the mucous membranes are still sensitive. It has usually passed after two to four weeks.

You notice the symptoms someday after you become infected

It often only takes a day or so from you to be infected with a cold virus until you notice the first symptoms. The symptoms then last for a few days.

The symptoms you get differ from person to person. After one to two weeks, you usually feel good again. 

What can I do for myself?

There is much you can do yourself to relieve the hassle of a cold.

It can be good to stay home and take it easy for the first 24 hours if you have a severe cold. If you have a fever, stay home until it has gone down.

You need rest but that doesn’t mean you need to lie down to bed. Often it is good to be up and moving. However, you should not exercise or exercise if you have an infection in your body.


In connection with a cold, you can sometimes get a fever that persists for a few days. This does not mean that you have a more serious illness. If you have a fever, it is good to drink more than usual as the body loses more fluid then. 

Most often, you do not need to treat the fever with antidepressants. However, if you feel ill from the fever and for example have pain in the body or sleep poorly, you can have the help of such drugs. Read more in the article about  non-prescription medicines for pain and fever.

Nesting and sniffing

In the first place, you can try nasal drops or nasal spray containing saline if you are very stuffy in the nose. You can buy them at a pharmacy without a prescription.

You can also make saline yourself by mixing a spicy salt in a deciliter of water. The water does not need to be boiled, but it can feel better if the solution is lukewarm when using it. To get the saline solution into your nose, you can use a special nasal rinse or a small plastic syringe that is available at pharmacies.

Decomposing nasal spray

If that does not help with the saline solution, you can try the nasal spray. There is a prescription to buy at a pharmacy.

Use decongestant nasal spray according to the instructions on the package and for a maximum of ten days. Prolonged use of a nasal spray can produce nasal congestion that is difficult to get rid of. 

Sore throat

Hot drinks such as tea can have a sedative effect if you have a sore throat . Ice cream and yogurt also usually feel good. Try out what works best for you.

Sometimes it feels better to have something to suck on and then you can try throat tablets found in grocery stores and in pharmacies. They do not reduce the swelling of the throat itself, but it can feel soothing. The best thing for your teeth is to choose sugar-free tablets.

There are also several different medicines in the form of lozenges and sprays that relieve sore throat in different ways. Some of these drugs can be used by both children and adults, but not all. You can ask a pharmacy what medicines are available and how they work.


You can try drinking more than usual if you have a cough problem. Drinking makes the mucus less tough and easier to cough up. Avoid being in smoky environments as the smoke irritates the respiratory tract and often makes the cough worse. If you smoke yourself, there are many benefits to quitting smoking.

Non-prescription drugs for cough

There are no studies showing that non-prescription cough medicines have any clear effect. But some find that they help.

Drinking a lot usually is as effective as a mucus-releasing drug.

Slept with head height

Bed with a pillow under the mattress. If you have trouble sleeping due to cough and nasal congestion, try lying with

your head high in bed. This makes the mucous membranes less swollen. The lungs also work better in an upright position. For example, you can bed with some extra pillows. If you put the pillows under the mattress, it may feel more comfortable for your back.

It can also feel nice to have it cool in the room where you sleep.

Home remedies

There are many home remedies that are allegedly able to help with a cold. Eating vitamin C in large quantities is one such home remedy. But there is no scientific support for it either helping or preventing colds.

Garlic in various forms is a common home remedy. Many people believe that it prevents and cures colds. But as with other home remedies, there is no scientific evidence of such an effect.

Herbal remedies

There are several herbal remedies that are approved to relieve cold symptoms. Some are made of plant echinacea, red sun hat. There is no scientific evidence that herbal remedies have the intended effect when cold.

When should I seek care?

The vast majority of those who are cold need not seek medical care because the problems usually go away on their own.

Contact a health care center if any of the following is true of you:

  • You have a fever that persists for more than four days.
  • The fever comes back after you have been fever-free for a few days.
  • You get more symptoms from the ears, throat, trachea or sinuses.

This is how cold catches

Colds infect very easily. This is especially true when the first symptoms begin to be felt and during the first days of the disease. The infection spreads through the air when the sick person sneezes and coughs. Then small droplets are formed and in them is the virus.

Cold is also spread through handshakes and other forms of direct contact. Then, for example, the virus can spread by rubbing your eyes after greeting a person with a cold.

The virus can also spread indirectly by, for example, taking in a door handle where a virus has previously landed. Viruses and bacteria can sometimes survive for several hours where they have landed.

This way you avoid spreading colds

It is difficult to prevent the spread of cold viruses. But there are ways to reduce the risk of infecting others:

  • Try to always sneeze in the arms fold, not in the hand. Don’t hold back the sneezing, it can be harmful.
  • Use disposable paper handkerchiefs if you need to cheat. Throw them in a plastic bag that can be closed.
  • Wash your hands frequently and carefully in times when many are cold. It is important both when you are cold and when someone near you is.
  • Avoid taking others in hand and preferably having some distance to others. This is especially true if you need to sneeze or cough.

Watch the movie on how to wash your hands properly

Treatment for cold

Colds are usually due to viruses and then treatment with antibiotics does not help. The body heals the infection itself, but you can relieve the symptoms in different ways. Read more about it under the heading What can I do for myself?

What happens in the body?

Colds are the most common form of respiratory infection. The cold affects the upper respiratory tract, ie the nose with the sinuses, middle ears, oral cavity, throat, and trachea.

Colds are available in many variants

When you get a cold you have been infected with a cold virus. Such viruses are available in many different variants. After a cold, you have some protection against a new infection of the same virus type, but the risk is that you will encounter new variants of the cold virus.

Some are more easily chilled than others

People are differently susceptible to infection. Some are almost never cold, while others are several times a year. 

You who have asthma or other types of chronic lung disease often get more prolonged colds. So is it if you have an impaired immune system. 

Complications and sequelae

After having a cold, your resistance to new infections is temporarily reduced. This makes it easy to get a sequela after a cold. It can be, for example, sinusitis, trachea, pneumonia and ear inflammation.


You who are cold may have inflammation of the nasal sinuses, sinusitis.

In sinusitis, these symptoms are common:

  • You have aches in your cheeks or forehead, usually more on one side.
  • You have cunning, which often flows backward, and gets stuffy in the nose, usually worse on one side
  • You get a worse sense of smell
  • You will feel pain or a feeling of pressure in the teeth of the upper jaw.

Sinusitis is common. The trouble usually goes away by itself, but sometimes you may need treatment with anti-inflammatory nasal spray or antibiotics.

Cough and trachea

A cold can trigger asthma problems if you have asthma. A cold can also lead to trachea or pneumonia. A cold in you who has a chronic respiratory tract or COPD  can lead to both increased respiratory problems and pneumonia. It is mainly the elderly and people with chronic lung diseases who get pneumonia.

Seek treatment of cold at a health care center if you have had common cold symptoms but are starting to cough more and more, feel it is heavy to breathe or if the fever rises. Then you may have a more severe infection.

Inflammation of the ear is more common in children than in adults

The most common sequelae of a cold in children is ear inflammation. But even adults can get ear infections in conjunction with a cold, although it is more uncommon.

These symptoms are common in-ear inflammation:

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down.
  • Fever
  • Ear lid and hearing impairment.

It can also drain fluid from the ear in case of an ear infection.

Ear inflammation often goes away by itself but children under one year, children under two years with ear inflammation in both ears and people over 12 years may need treatment with antibiotics.


Colds can also cause the vocal cords to become inflamed and you become hoarse.

Vocal cords are usually due to a viral infection. The treatment usually consists of resting your voice.

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