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A cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by a virus. Cold symptoms take a day or two to appear. There is no cure, but signs are easy to treat. In most cases, all you need are some rest and fluids. The symptoms disappear after about a week. If they persist longer than a week, you need to see a doctor.

Cold remedies usually fall into two different categories: over-the-counter medications and home remedies. Decongestants, pain relievers, and anti-histamines are common OTC remedies. Home remedies are often very effective in treating a common cold. They are inexpensive and have minimal side effects.

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1. Nasal congestion

A stuffy nose is prevalent when you have a cold. Excess fluid causes mucous membranes and blood vessels to swell. You only need to worry if the mucus becomes thick and yellowy green in color. If it lasts too long and you develop sinus pain or a severe headache, you may need to see a doctor. Many methods are available for treating nasal congestion.

Saline drops are available over-the-counter, and you don’t need a prescription. They cause blood vessels in the nose to contract, reducing swelling. You can use a neti pot to flush a saline solution through your nasal passages. It thins, loosens and rinses away mucus. Using a vapor rub can also deal with congestion. It opens up the airways and breaks down mucus. Elevating your head can decrease the flow of blood to the nose and relieve congestion too. Taking a hot, steamy shower can also help.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.