Viral Syndrome or Cold

Viral Syndrome or Cold


You have been seen for a viral infection called a viral syndrome or a cold. There is no cure for this infection and antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Signs may include:

  • Fever with a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees F or 38 degrees C
  • Stuffy nose and nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea may occur in some people


Your Care

Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Treatment will take time and it will only help manage your signs.

  • Rest as much as you can.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, at least 8 cups of fluid each day. Some people find warm drinks help with easing sore throat and congestion.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) according to package instructions. Be sure to avoid aspirin or any products with aspirin with a viral infection because it may damage your liver.


See your doctor or go to the nearest Emergency Department if you have:

  • Stiff neck or very bad headache.
  • Problems breathing or feel short of breath.
  • Fever with oral temperature greater than 100.4 degrees F or 38 degrees C that is still present 7 days after the start of your illness.
  • Weakness or you are not able to walk.
  • Vomiting that will not stop.
  • Dizziness, feel lightheaded or faint
  • Any concerns or feel worse, or if you are not feeling better in the next 7 days.


© 2015 – July 22, 2019, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information, call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: