An introduction to head cold symptoms
A head cold is caused by the same viruses responsible for the common cold. However, for various reasons, the infection affects the tissues of the head and back of the throat more than other parts of the body.
This gives rise to a number of specific symptoms. This page describes some of these symptoms and what you can do to help yourself, if you have a head cold.
Symptoms of a head cold
Head colds lead to inflammation in the nasal passages. These in turn can cause inflammation in the middle ear, sinuses and the back of the throat. This helps us better understand the more common symptoms of a head cold which are:
- A blocked nose. This can of course be seen with ‘normal colds’. Typically, nasal congestion is the predominant symptom in head colds, caused by swelling of the tissues in the nasal passages. It is often described as feeling ‘bunged up’.
- Headache. This is also quite a common symptom of head colds and caused by inflammation in the sinuses which are cavities (or caves) in the skull. There are four pairs of sinuses and each of these opens into the nose and back of the throat. As tissues in this area swell, the openings become blocked and pressure builds up within the sinus cavities, giving rise to headaches.
- Earache. The part of the ear behind the eardrum is called the middle ear and it is connected to the back of the throat in a similar way to sinuses. If this becomes inflamed, pressure builds up in the ear giving rise to earache
- Sore throat. The back of the throat, called the pharynx, can be infected and inflamed with a head cold. If severe, a sore throat might develop.
How can herbal remedies help?
There are a number of herbal remedies which can be used to help ease the symptoms of a head cold.
- Echinacea is the herb of choice for any cold or flu. It helps to treat all the symptoms and addresses the fundamental infection by strengthening the immune system.
TIP: Use Echinacea drops or tablets to treat the underlying infection responsible for a head cold.
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- A nasal decongestant is of benefit to most people with head colds. Freeing up the nasal passages will also help relieve any pressure within the sinuses or middle ear and the associated symptoms of headache and earache.
TIP: Use a menthol based nasal spray for blocked noses caused by head colds. Unlike other nasal decongestants, this can be used for up to 30 days.
- If you have a sore throat, try Sage – it has been used for many years for throat infections and inflammation. Combining Sage with Echinacea means that other symptoms of a head cold can also be addressed.
TIP: Echinaforce® Sore Throat spray is a combination of freshly harvested Echinacea and Sage and is great for sore throats due to head colds. The spray format means that you can direct the medicine to precisely the area troubling you.
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When to go to the doctor?
Seek medical attention for your head cold if:
- Your symptoms do not improve despite your attempts at treating them
- You suffer from severe or blinding headaches
- Your earache is severe and your hearing is affected
- You experience visual disturbances or flashing lights
- You experience any neck stiffness
- You have a high fever (over 39oC)