Common cold treatment available online today

Speak to one of our trusted, board-certified doctors about treating your cold in as little as 15 minutes and find relief from your symptoms. Our doctors can evaluate your symptoms and discuss common cold treatment options online today, including prescribing medication if necessary.

Book an appointment
Book an appointment

Speak to one of our trusted, board-certified doctors about treating your cold in as little as 15 minutes and find relief from your symptoms. Our doctors can evaluate your symptoms and discuss common cold treatment options online today, including prescribing medication if necessary.

Medication services available for adults and kids (3+)

Top quality, board-certified doctors

Insurance accepted, but not required

Prescriptions sent to your local pharmacy*

*Prescriptions provided at doctor’s discretion


We accept these insurance plans and many more!

Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less. Otherwise, new patient visits are $129, and follow-ups are only $69 for members.





Don’t see your provider listed? Email [email protected]  or call  (888) 564-4454  to talk to a PlushCare specialist.

3 simple steps to request cold treatment today

Step 1

Book a common cold treatment appointment.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your medical provider regarding your cold symptoms.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

If prescribed, pick up a prescription for cold treatment.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.

Cold treatment pricing details

How pricing works

To request cold treatment and get a new or refill on a prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance

Membership

$14.99/month

First month free

First visit

Copay

For all visits

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • United Healthcare

Paying without insurance

Membership

$14.99/month

First month free

First visit

$129

Repeats only $69

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129 and follow-ups are only $69 for active members.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.

Learn about the common cold

There are millions of cases of the common cold in the United States each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among the various infectious diseases, the common cold is one of the main reasons for work and school absences. Common cold season typically ranges from the winter to spring months.

The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Several known cold viruses can cause inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and throat, leading to common symptoms such as running noses and sore throats. Treatment mainly aims to ease symptoms and most healthy adults and children recover within 7 - 10 days.

While the common cold is different from the flu (and COVID), it is sometimes hard to tell which one you have due to overlaps in their symptoms.

Common cold causes

More than 200 viruses are known to cause the common colds. However, amongst them, rhinoviruses are the most prevalent.

  • The common cold can easily spread from person to person, i.e. it's highly contagious. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets that contain the viruses become airborne and can be inhaled by another person in the nearby vicinity. Another method of spread is through touch. This includes direct touch by an infected person or indirectly touching a common surface that has been touched by an infected person.

Cold symptoms

  • Common cold symptoms include:

    • Stuffy nose

    • Runny nose

    • Sore throat

    • Coughing

    • Headaches, body aches

How to treat the cold

  • Treatment mainly aims to ease symptoms with OTC cold medications and some home remedies. Since the common cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics which treat bacterial infections are ineffective.

Cold medications

  • Over the counter medicines

    Here is a list of common over the counter medicines that can help relieve symptoms of the common cold and the typical brand names:

    • Over the counter cough suppressants - also known as antitussives: These work by suppressing the cough reflex. Common brand names include but are not limited to Delsym and Robitussin.

    • Over the counter cough expectorants: These help thin the mucus so it is easier to cough and expel it. Common brand names include but are not limited to Mucinex and Robitussin.

    • Pain relievers: Common over the counter medicines include aspirin (e.g. Bayer), acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), and Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil).

    • Over the counter nasal decongestants: Over the counter decongestants help relieve stuffy noses. Common brand names include but are not limited to Afrin and Sudafed.

    • Vapor rub

    • Saline nasal sprays


    Note that not all OTC cold medicines are suitable for children younger than 6. Carefully read all labels/directions or consult a pediatrician who can recommend an appropriate over the counter kids medicine.

  • Home remedies

    Aside from over the counter medicines, here are some at home remedies that may also help you feel better:

    • Get adequate rest

    • Warm liquids - chicken soup, warm water with lemon, hot tea

    • Saltwater gargle - can help reduce swelling

    • Saline nasal irrigation

How to prevent a cold

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the common cold is one of the more contagious infectious diseases. One of the main ideas behind cold prevention is to prevent the spread of the cold viruses through good hygiene practices:

    • Wash hands frequently with soap

    • Cover when sneezing or coughing

    • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces frequently



    In addition, stay healthy and keep your immune system up to be able to fend off the cold virus:

    • Exercise

    • Get enough sleep

    • Reduce exposure to first and secondhand smoke - people that smoke or are around smoke are at an increased risk of catching colds.

    • Zinc supplements - some studies have shown that taking zinc lozenges can help reduce the duration of the cold. The zinc lozenges / syrups seem to work by preventing the cold viruses from growing in the upper respiratory tract (i.e. nasal passages and throat).

    • Vitamin C - some studies have shown that daily supplementation of vitamin C seems to be marginally beneficial in reducing the duration and severity of the common cold.

    • Vitamin D - similar to vitamin C, some studies have shown that daily supplementation of vitamin D seems to be helpful in common cold prevention/treatment.


    However, do note that the effect of supplements on the common cold is still an area of active research with mixed results.

When to see a doctor for a cold

See a doctor if you or your child has one or more of these conditions:

  • The cold symptoms worsen

  • Cold symptoms that last more than 10 days

  • Child is less than 3 months old with symptoms such as fever or lethargy

Also see a doctor if you belong to the following groups of people who are at high risk for flu complications and start to develop flu symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle or body aches:

  • Young children (younger than 5 years old)

  • Adults 65 years and older

  • Pregnant women

  • People with certain underlying medical conditions (asthma, diabetes)

Related conditions to the common cold

  • Flu

    While the common cold is different from the flu, it is sometimes hard to tell which one you have due to overlaps in their symptoms. The flu is caused by the influenza viruses, which are different from the ones causing the common cold. Both are upper respiratory infections, but flu symptoms tend to be more severe than those of the common cold. With the flu, you are likely to experience severe aches, pains, headaches, fever and chills. The flu can also lead to serious complications such as pneumonia.

  • Sinus infection

    A sinus infection (sinusitis) is one of the common upper respiratory infections. There are two types of sinusitis: viral and bacterial sinusitis. During the common cold, the virus can infect the sinuses and cause inflammation in the sinus membranes - viral sinusitis. When sinusitis is caused by bacterial infection, it is known as bacterial sinusitis. Symptoms that are common between the common cold and sinus infection are: runny nose, stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, cough and sore throat.

  • COVID-19

    COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 while the common cold is typically caused by a rhinovirus. Both viruses are highly contagious and spread in similar manners: through the spread of the droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and by touching a common surface that has been touched by an infected person, then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.


    These symptoms are characteristic of COVID-19:

    • Severe aches, pains

    • Headaches

    • Fever or chills

    • New loss of taste or smell

    • Diarrhea

    • Fatigue


    Some symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the common cold:

    • Cough

    • Sore throat

    • Runny nose

    • Stuffy nose

  • Upper respiratory tract infection

    An upper respiratory tract infection is a viral infection that affects the nose (sinuses) and throat (making up the upper respiratory tract). The common cold is one of the upper respiratory infections. Other upper respiratory infections include: sinusitis, pharyngitis, and laryngitis.

Common cold treatment FAQs

  • What is the best cure for a cold?

    The best cure for a cold is to get adequate rest, stay hydrated, and let it run its course. Some over the counter medicines and home remedies can ease symptoms, promote better sleep and help with faster recovery.

  • What is the best medicine for a cold?

    There are no medicines that cures common colds. The common cold typically goes away on its own in 2 to 10 days. The best course of action for recovery is to get adequate rest, stay hydrated and let it run its course. Some over the counter medicines can help ease symptoms:

    • Over the counter cough suppressants - also known as antitussives

    • Over the counter cough expectorants

    • Pain relievers

    • Over the counter nasal decongestants

  • Do I have a cold or the flu?

    The flu and cold have similar symptoms, so it can be tricky to tell which you’re dealing with. Generally, the flu will come on faster than a cold. The flu is also frequently accompanied by a fever, body aches, and dry cough, which are typically not associated with the common cold.

  • How long does a cold last?

    The common cold typically lasts 2 to 10 days. The more rest you get, the faster your cold will go away. You can also use home-remedies, over-the-counter, and prescription strength medication to help with symptom management. The first symptom to typically show up is a sore throat or runny nose.

  • What is the difference between a common cold and COVID?

    COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 while the common cold is typically caused by a rhinovirus. These symptoms are characteristic of COVID-19:

    • Headaches

    • Fever or chills

    • New loss of taste or smell

    • Severe aches, pains

    • Diarrhea

    • Fatigue

    Some symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the common colds:

    • Cough

    • Runny nose

    • Stuffy nose

    • Sore throat

    Read here to learn more about cold vs. COVID.

  • Should I take antibiotics for a cold?

    No, you should not take antibiotics for a cold. The common cold is caused by a virus, and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Researchers conclude that there is no benefit from taking antibiotics to treat a common cold. In the very rare case that a bacterial infection develops due to a cold, antibiotics can be considered as a treatment option after consulting with a doctor.

  • How do you make a cold go away fast?

    If you have a cold, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and herbal tea to help your body fight off the cold. Adequate rest can also help you get over a cold. A doctor may also be able to prescribe you prescription medication to help ease your symptoms.

    The fastest way to meet with a doctor when you have a cold is to book an online appointment with one of our trusted, board-certified doctors. Our doctors can provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan so you can get healthy!