All about your stubborn cold

By now, your cold may have morphed into a nasty sinus infection.

The question
   
I’ve had a cold for weeks now. How did I get it? Am I contagious? Do I need antibiotics?

First things first: Going out into cold weather without a hat or coat does not cause colds. Upper respiratory infections are actually more common in cold weather months because people spend more time indoors, in closer contact. Aerosolized droplets from coughing and sneezing contain the viruses which spread the colds, and they are easily transmitted from person to person when you inhale them or rub them into your eye, nose or mouth after touching someone with a cold. URIs are usually contagious for one or two days preceding the onset of symptoms and for three to five days after you get sick. Frequent hand-washing with plain soap and water is the best way to prevent catching and transmitting a cold. If you have to cough or sneeze, use a tissue and wash your hands, or use sanitizer.
 
These viruses cause a collection of symptoms — such as nasal congestion, a scratchy or sore throat and/or a cough — by infecting and irritating the upper airways. Cold symptoms often last seven to 10 days and will usually go away on their own. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses and are only used to treat bacterial infections. If you develop a fever, sinus pain or pressure, a headache, an earache or shortness of breath — or if your symptoms are persistent and worse after 10 days — then your cold may have caused a bacterial infection such as sinusitis, a middle ear infection, strep throat, bronchitis or pneumonia. Your physician should consider prescribing an antibiotic.

— Mark Melrose, DO, is a board-certified emergency physician at Urgent Care Manhattan. E-mail him your questions at askdrmark@metro.us.
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Breaking: Local

(Update) Boston Police confirm body of missing BU…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University student Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

Mayor Marty Walsh's Reddit AMA: 5 things to…

Mayor Marty Walsh participated in a Reddit AMA - or "ask me anything" - session on Thursday and shared some of his insight and stories.

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

The Word

Taylor Swift has a hard time leaving the…

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Arts

'Becoming Cuba' at Huntington is a bit short…

Playwright Melinda Lopez freely lampoons the English language for its lack of passion in her latest work, “Becoming Cuba.” Ironically, the Huntington Theatre Company’s playwright-in-residence…

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

Television

TV watch list, Thursday, April 24: 'Parks and…

'Parks and Recreation' Leslie makes a big decision about her future in the hourlong season finale. Also, fans will finally get to see the big…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

NFL

Patriot’s schedule comes up fair

Those looking for built-in excuses for the Patriots 2014-2015 season will have to look elsewhere, because their schedule came up fair. For the fourth straight…

MLB

Nava demoted, Victorino return imminent

  Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava, who was batting a team-low .149/.240/.269, was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. "His struggles at the plate, I…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.