Common Cold

Lyon Primary Care

Primary Care Physicians located in Midtown, New York, NY

Chicken soup and plenty of rest are often all you need to recover from a cold. But when your symptoms linger, or you develop signs of a secondary infection — such as sinusitis — it's time to see the doctor. We haven't yet found a cure for the common cold, but at Lyon Primary Care in Midtown, New York, NY, we can treat your symptoms and ease your discomfort. Call today for your appointment with Valerie Lyon, M.D., the board-certified primary care specialist who leads our team.

Common Cold Q&A

Lyon Primary Care

What causes a cold?

A cold is a viral infection that’s most often caused by one of the many pesky rhinoviruses present in our environment. These viruses enter your body through your mouth, eyes, or nose and affect your upper respiratory tract.

What are the symptoms of a cold?

The symptoms typically appear about three days after you’ve been exposed to the virus and can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough and sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches, mild headache, and generally feeling ill
  • Low-grade fever

How do you catch a cold?

Colds are often spread by droplets released into the air when someone with the virus sneezes, coughs, or talks. You can also catch a cold by touching an object the virus has landed on and then rubbing your eyes, scratching your nose, or placing your hands near your mouth. Door handles, towels, cooking utensils, and phones help spread the cold virus — simply pushing a cart through the grocery store or gripping a handrail on a staircase can expose you to an active cold virus.

Can you prevent a cold?

While you’re likely to experience more than one cold during your lifetime, there are common- sense steps you can take to improve your odds of avoiding or spreading a cold, including:

  • Following a nutritious diet, managing the stress in your life, and getting plenty of sleep
  • Practicing good hand-washing techniques
  • Cleaning kitchen and bathroom countertops, doorknobs, and other germ-carrying surfaces thoroughly with a disinfectant, especially when someone in your household has a cold
  • Coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your elbow when tissues aren’t available
  • Not sharing drinking glasses, phones, or other items that can transfer the cold virus  I

When should I see a doctor for a cold?

Most colds last 7-10 days and are bearable with rest, fluids and OTC medicines. But if symptoms persist, are worrisome, or unfamiliar to you, you should see a doctor.   At Lyon Primary Care, we’re also happy to see you for a cold if your cough, congestion, or sore throat make it difficult to get the rest you need.

In addition, we recommend you come in for a visit if you develop symptoms that may signal a secondary infection, including:

  • Temperature greater than 101.3 F
  • A fever that lasts five days or returns after you’ve been fever-free
  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, or other signs of respiratory distress
  • Severe sore throat that may signal a strep infection
  • Headache or sinus pain


Call our office today to schedule an appointment.