May 23, 2024
Are you feeling run down or congested lately? Don't just assume it's a common cold. Check for these common signs of head cold and find out the best treatments that can speed up your recovery time. Learn more about the symptoms and signs of a head cold so you can be prepared and take action before it takes over your life.


Dealing with colds can be frustrating, especially when they affect the head. But how do you know you have a head cold, and what exactly are the symptoms? This article is your guide to understanding head cold symptoms, and how to tell if you have one.

10 Common Symptoms of a Head Cold You Shouldn’t Ignore

Most of the time, a head cold will start with a sore throat and a runny nose. However, it can also come with other symptoms, such as:

  • A cough that’s worse at night
  • Headache and facial pain
  • Sneezing
  • Fever or body chills
  • Fatigue and general body weakness

It’s important to identify these symptoms so you can take action effectively. For example, if you have a fever or experience severe weakness, it may be worth contacting your doctor.

Feeling Under the Weather? A Complete List of Head Cold Symptoms

Here are a few additional symptoms that may indicate a head cold:

  • Stuffy or blocked nose
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Nasal discharge which can sometimes be discolored or bloody
  • Pain in the ears or jaw, which can be caused by sinus pressure
  • A sore throat or painful swallowing

If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to take action straight away. Drinking fluids, taking a warm shower and avoiding irritants such as smoke and alcohol can help a lot. Over-the-counter medication may also be useful as it can relieve some of the symptoms.

Find Relief: Recognizing the Symptoms of a Head Cold

If you’re experiencing a head cold, there are a few commonsense steps you can take to relieve symptoms such as:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, like water, juice and warm soup. These help to relieve congestion, keep your body hydrated and reduce inflammation.
  • Get some rest and sleep. This allows your body to focus on healing and fights off the infection faster.
  • Use humidities, such as vaporizer or a simple bowl of water, which prevents the mucus production from getting thicker and harder to blow out or break up.
  • Some over-the-counter medications might relieve symptoms, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for relieving pain and fever.
  • Some medications can help relieve stuffy, blocked nose or sinus pressure, such as decongestant nose sprays or drops.

If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, or you develop other symptoms like ear pain, you may need to contact your doctor for a diagnosis or rule out more serious causes like pneumonia.

Head Cold Symptoms: How to Identify and Treat Them

If you suspect you have a head cold, it’s important to identify and treat your symptoms promptly so you can feel better sooner.

Some of the treatments that might be effective for a head cold include:

  • Over-the-counter decongestants, such as phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine can help reduce nasal congestion, swelling and inflammation.
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve headaches, fever and other body pains.
  • Antihistamines to ease sneezing, runny nose or watery eyes.
  • Nasal saline sprays or drops might help relieve nasal stuffiness and decrease dryness by adding moisture to the nose.
  • Prescription medication or antibiotics may be required if the cold is caused by a bacterial infection, but they are not usually prescribed for a regular head cold.

Stay Ahead of the Game: Early Warning Signs of a Head Cold

Preventative measures are always better than cure for head colds. If you’re someone who gets head colds often, it’s worth knowing the early warning signs:

  • Having a scratchy or sore throat
  • Feeling tired, lethargic or rundown
  • Getting an uncomfortable, congested or stuffy nose

If you recognise these early signs, it’s better to start preventative treatments asap, such as taking vitamin C supplements to boost your immune system, taking care to avoid excess alcohol intake, getting lots of rest and avoiding stressful situations as much as possible.


If you experience any of the above-listed symptoms, don’t ignore them. With a little rest and effective medication, you can get back on your feet in no time. If you continue to experience symptoms that aren’t improving, or if you have a high fever or difficulty breathing, see a doctor right away.

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