Cold or Cough

Did you know that adults in the United States get between two and four colds each year? While the common cold doesn’t usually make you seriously sick, nobody likes feeling under the weather. When you’re dealing with a cough and other respiratory symptoms, seeing a medical provider can help you determine exactly what illness you have and how best to treat it.

Cold or Cough Diagnosis & Treatment Online or in Person

If you’re feeling less than your best and want to be sure you’re taking care of yourself, a quick visit with one of our NGPG Urgent Care providers can do the trick. We offer access to medical services both in person and through on-demand video visits, allowing you to choose the setting that’s most convenient for you. If you’d like to be tested to ensure what you have is actually a cold and not another illness, stopping by one of our Urgent Care clinics for in-person diagnostic testing is always an option.

Start a visit now and speak with a medical professional in minutes.

  • Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Treats patients 5 years and older
  • Accepts insurance and self-pay

Meet face-to-face with a board-certified physician near you.

  • Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.
  • Treats patients 6 months and older
  • On-site diagnostic testing & vaccinations

What is the common cold?

You might think that the common cold is a single illness, but it’s actually a group of viral infections, primarily affecting the nose and throat. Rhinovirus causes up to 40 percent of colds, but these illnesses can also be caused by a coronavirus or respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV.

The common cold is responsible for more medical visits in the United States than any other illness, which makes sense since most people get multiple colds each year. In most cases, the symptoms of a cold go away on their own within a week, but the illness may last longer in older adults, children, and those who have diminished immune systems.

What are the symptoms of a cold?

The symptoms of a cold are usually mild and include:

  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Hoarseness
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Watery eyes

Cold symptoms tend to develop slowly over the course of a few days. This can help differentiate the illness from other common viral infections, such as the flu, which often starts suddenly.

What are other causes of a cough?

A cough is one potential symptom of a cold, but it can also be caused by other infections and medical conditions. Causes of a cough can include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Allergies
  • Heart failure
  • Inhalation of irritants
  • Lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Postnasal drip
  • Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Throat overuse
  • Upper respiratory infections, such as laryngitis or the flu

While most of these causes are minor in nature, there are also some serious and potentially life-threatening causes of cough. Pneumothorax, which is a partial or total collapse of the lung, and pulmonary embolism, which is a clot in the lungs, can both cause a cough. 

When should I seek care for a cough or cold?

In most cases, the common cold and many causes of cough can be treated with basic at-home care, including getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, and taking over-the-counter medications to ease specific symptoms.

You should seek medical attention, though, if your illness lingers for longer than a week or seems to worsen instead of improving. Experiencing difficulty breathing, sharp pain, dehydration, or a high fever is also an indication that medical attention is needed.

Finally, stop by if you have the symptoms listed above and have spent time around someone with the flu or COVID-19. We can perform rapid flu and COVID-19 tests to rule out those potential causes of respiratory symptoms.