Cold Self Care

The following symptoms are the more common symptoms seen at URI Health Services, treated with the following medications. These medications are available at the URI Health Services Pharmacy. These medications are present in many of the multi-symptom cold, cough and flu medications sold in stores and pharmacies. Please read labels carefully to avoid exceeding the dose advised here or by your provider.

call health services and speak to a nurse if:

Temperature over 102° persist, are experiencing chest pain, experiencing shortness of breath, have difficulty swallowing own saliva, persistent vomiting, blurred vision, severe headache, facial Swelling or foul odor to breath

overview of common cold

A cold usually includes a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, and coughing. These symptoms can last for up to two weeks.



  • Over 200 viruses can cause the common cold
  • The rhinovirus is the most common tyupe of virus that causes colds



  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headaches
  • Mild body aches


  • Temperature higher than 100.4°F
  • Symptoms that last more than 5 days.
  • Symptoms that are not relieved by over-the-counter medicines


  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water, fruit juice, soup, etc.)
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) as directed on package.
  • Saline Nasal Spray to clear nasal congestion
  • Oxymetazoline Nasal Spray (Afrin)
  • Pills for Cold Congestion: Take Pseudoephedrine 30 mg (Sudafed, SudoGest)
  • Pills for Allergy Symptoms: Take Diphenhydramine 25 mg (Benadryl) or Chlorpheniramine 4 mg (Chlor-Trimeton)


  • Cepacol Throat Lozenger or Chloraseptic Throat Spray
  • Take ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve) for pain and discomfort
  • A Sore Throat lasting 3 or more days associated with extreme pain, swollen glands, fever and headache needs medical attention at Health Services





  • Take a hot shower to loosen congestion and thin mucous.
  • A cough drop may soothe and lessen the cough.
  • Take liquid cough medicine Guaifenesin 100mg per teaspoon (Robitussin) or Guaifenesin DM syrup (Robitussin DM)




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