Jeffery Tun, MD
Primary Care Physician located in Midtown East, New York, NY & Forest Hills, NY
The common cold can quickly spread through your household, especially if family members pass it back and forth to one another. At the practice of Jeffery Tun, MD, in Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood and Forest Hills, Queens, in New York City, the expert staff offers effective treatments to conquer cold symptoms and prevent additional medical issues for adults of all ages. Schedule an appointment online or by calling the offices to learn more about treating the common cold.
What is the common cold?
The common cold is a viral infection of your upper respiratory tract (your nasal passages, sinuses, and upper throat). The virus is contracted by personal contact with an infected person or a contaminated object. It enters the body through your mouth, eyes, or nose. It also spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
In most cases, colds aren’t severe. But, if left untreated, a cold can result in additional health complications.
What are the symptoms of a cold?
Symptoms of a cold appear 1-3 days after exposure to a virus. Cold symptoms vary but can often include:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Persistent cough
- Low-grade fever
- Sinus and lung congestion
Many people experience a thick yellow or greenish discharge from their nose as the virus travels through their system. This discharge doesn’t always indicate that a secondary bacterial infection, like a sinus or ear infection, is present.
When should I see a doctor about a cold?
If you are in overall good health, you don’t need to see Dr. Tun for common cold symptoms. However, if symptoms get worse or new symptoms appear, schedule a consultation with Dr. Tun as soon as possible.
Cold symptoms that require medical attention include:
- Fever lasting more than two days
- Fever above 100.4 degrees in infants up to 12 weeks old
- Severe cough or headache
- Persistent ear pain
- Unexplained drowsiness
- Lack of appetite
If you are frequently vomiting, Dr. Tun can evaluate to ensure that you’re adequately hydrated. If dehydration is evident, he can provide IV fluids to prevent additional medical complications.
How do I know it’s a cold and not the flu?
Dr. Tun uses a specific test to determine if you’re suffering from the flu, rather than a simple cold. The flu is an entirely different virus but often shows similar symptoms. The flu is usually worse than the common cold and can lead to more severe complications, like pneumonia and bronchitis.
The flu almost always comes on suddenly. You usually have a fever, chills, aches, and fatigue — symptoms less common with a cold. Although you can have a runny nose and sore throat with a cold, these symptoms are more likely to appear with the flu.
At the office, a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test determines the exact type of virus infecting you.
The test seeks out a small part of a virus’ genomic sequence (its DNA) to verify your diagnosis. If you come into the doctor’s office with severe symptoms that you think are just a cold, a PCR test can reveal if instead, you have the flu. This means you get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment to get you feeling better quickly.
What treatments are available for a cold?
Antibiotics aren’t effective in treating viral infections. Unless he finds a secondary bacterial infection, Dr. Tun won’t prescribe antibiotics. He may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage cold symptoms like a sore throat, headache, and fevers.
Nasal decongestant sprays and saline drops are effective in clearing stuffy noses to help you breathe better. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting a lot of rest are effective at-home treatments.
Schedule a consultation online or by phone with Jeffery Tun, MD, to learn more about effectively treating your cold.
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