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common cold/flu

What is it?


The common cold is an upper respiratory infection caused by many different viruses.


Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. Colds must run their course (usually lasting 7-14 days with the first 3-5 being the worst).


How do you catch it?


Cold viruses enter the body through contact with fluid from the eyes, nose or throat of an infected person. Confinement in a small space with many people promotes cold transmission.



  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Sneezing/runny/stuffy nose
  • Watery /tender eyes
  • Pressure in the ears
  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Tired feeling
  • Temperature  up to 100.5ºF (38ºC)

The flu is also caused by a virus with similar symptoms but often more severe.


                        Cold or Flu which is it?!   Take our flu-check test to see if it's the cold or flu.


Self Care Options for Symptom of Cold and Flu: 

  • REST as much as needed to get well and let your body heal. Avoid becoming more fatigued.
  • DRINK FLUIDS to keep secretions thin and fevers down. Aim for twice of the amount of fluids that you normally drink. If you do not feel like eating, emphasize high-calorie drinks (i.e. soda, juice or soup).
  • DON'T SMOKE it irritates the lining of the nose and throat and can worsen symptoms.
  • INCREASE HUMIDITY to reduce nasal stuffiness. If you do not have a humidifier or vaporizer, try sitting in a steamy bathroom with a hot running shower for 15 minutes.
  • PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE to prevent spreading your cold. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough with tissue or arm.  Wash your hands regularly and dispose of used tissues. Avoid sharing towels, drinks, cigarettes, and eating utensils.
  • MEDICATIONS:  ALWAYS read the labels first!
    • Talk with a local Pharmacist if unsure what to take.

Call Student Health (434.395.2102) or Urgent Care/Emergency Department if SHWC Closed:

  • Fever is above 100.5 ºF (38ºC) for more than two days or fever isn’t relieved with medication
  • General symptoms continue to worsen for more than 5 days or lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • Cough lasts longer than 10 days
  • Persistent sore throat, especially without nasal congestion
  • Cold symptoms that last longer than 2 weeks
  • ANYTIME you are unsure of what to do

Seek IMMEDIATE Health Care at Student Health or Urgent Care/Emergency Department:

  • Severe headache with a fever over 100.5ºF (38ºC)


    • Severe cough with fever and chills
    • Painful breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
    • Stiff neck with high fever