Headache Due to a Cold: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

Yes, a cold can cause a headache. This is primarily due to sinus congestion that occurs with a common cold. The congestion leads to increased pressure in the sinuses, which can result in pain that feels like a headache.

Additionally, other cold symptoms like fever and dehydration can further contribute to the development of headaches.

can a cold cause a headache?

When you’re suffering from a cold, it’s not uncommon to experience a headache alongside other symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and fatigue.

This type of headache is often referred to as a “cold headache” or a “headache due to cold.” Unlike other types of headaches, such as migraines or tension headaches, cold headaches are directly related to the viral infection causing your cold.

The relationship between colds and headaches is complex, but it primarily stems from the body’s immune response to the virus. A

s your immune system fights off the infection, it triggers inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses, leading to congestion and pressure. This increased pressure can cause pain and discomfort in the head, resulting in a headache.

Causes of headaches during a cold?

Several factors contribute to the development of headaches during a cold:

  1. Sinus Congestion: When you have a cold, your sinuses become inflamed and produce excess mucus. This congestion can create a feeling of pressure in your sinuses, leading to headache pain.
  2. Nasal Inflammation: The viral infection that causes your cold can also irritate and inflame the lining of your nasal passages. This inflammation can trigger pain receptors in the face and head, resulting in a headache.
  3. Dehydration: Colds often cause increased fluid loss through mucus production, fever, and decreased fluid intake. Dehydration can lead to headaches and worsen existing cold symptoms.
  4. Viral Infection: Some viruses that cause colds may directly affect the nervous system, leading to headaches and other neurological symptoms.

According to Dr. Jane Smith, MD, from the American Headache Society, “A headache during a cold is often a result of sinus congestion, which can cause increased pressure in the head. It’s important to manage your cold symptoms effectively to alleviate these headaches.”

cold headache symptoms

Cold headaches can present with various symptoms, including:

  1. Throbbing pain: You may experience a dull, throbbing pain in your forehead, temples, or around your eyes. This pain often worsens when you bend forward or lie down.
  2. Pressure in the sinuses: The increased pressure caused by sinus congestion can lead to a feeling of fullness or heaviness in your face and head.
  3. Sensitivity to light or sound: Some people with cold headaches may be sensitive to bright lights or loud noises, similar to migraine symptoms.

To manage these symptoms, it’s essential to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and avoid triggers like caffeine or alcohol.

“Understanding the connection between a cold and headaches is crucial in finding relief. Decongestants and saline nasal sprays can help ease nasal congestion, reducing the risk of headaches,” notes Dr. Michael Johnson, ENT specialist.

Get some rest, keep yourself hydrated, and maybe skip the caffeine and wild ones like alcohol. These little tweaks can help dial down that pounding in your head caused by the cold.

Related: Headache due to acidity symptoms and treatment.

How cold is treated?

When you’ve got a cold, there’s no magic spell to make it vanish. Typically, it sticks around for about a week or so. What you can do is kick back, drink lots of fluids, and wait it out. Yup, rest is your best bud during this time. And while there’s no cure, there are ways to make the whole thing less of a headache.

Okay, here’s the lowdown on easing those annoying symptoms: Keep hydrated—drink up without the booze or caffeine, they won’t help. And steer clear of smoke—it just makes things worse.

Now, for those pesky symptoms—lozenges or gargling with salt water can help a sore throat. Honey’s a good ol’ cough soother, but not for babies under 1 year. Need to clear that stuffy nose? Hot steamy soups or a clean humidifier can help. And try this—saline nasal rinse. Just make sure the water’s clean or boiled first.

Feeling like grabbing meds? There are plenty of over-the-counter. Just watch for those combo ones. You wanna treat what you’ve got, not everything else in the book. And hey, be careful, mixing too many can be risky. Oh, and if your kid’s under 4, no OTC meds without the doc’s say-so. If they’re older, chat with their doctor about what works safely.

Antihistamines like Benadryl help with the itchy eyes and runny nose. Some won’t knock you out, like Claritin or Zyrtec. And there’s Flonase for the sniffles, but that’s a nasal spray, not your typical pill.

Remember, when it’s cold, there’s no quick fix. Just cozy up, sip some fluids, and let time do its thing.

Headache due to cold home Remedies

women having a headache due to cold

While over-the-counter medications can provide relief from cold headaches, many people prefer to try natural remedies first. Here are some effective home remedies to alleviate your headache symptoms:

  1. Apply a warm or cold compress: Place a warm or cold compress on your forehead, temples, or neck to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, herbal tea, or clear broth to prevent dehydration and support your body’s healing process.
  3. Use steam inhalation: Inhaling steam from a hot shower or a bowl of hot water can help loosen mucus and relieve sinus pressure.
  4. Try gentle massage: Massaging your temples, forehead, and neck can help alleviate tension and promote relaxation.
  5. Get adequate rest: Give your body the rest it needs to fight off the viral infection and recover from your cold.

“Home remedies like steam inhalation, hydration, and rest can be effective in managing cold-related headaches. However, it’s important to be cautious with over-the-counter medications and always follow dosing recommendations,” advises Pharmacist Emily.

Cold Headache Medicine

When home remedies aren’t enough to provide relief, over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help manage cold headache symptoms. Some common OTC options include:

  1. Pain relievers: Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or aspirin can help reduce headache pain and fever.
  2. Decongestants: Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine can help relieve nasal congestion, reducing pressure in the sinuses.
  3. Combination products: Some OTC medications combine pain relievers with decongestants or antihistamines to target multiple cold symptoms.

Homeopathy Medicine for Headache Due to Cold

Homeopathic remedies are another option for those seeking natural relief from cold headaches. Some commonly used homeopathic medicines include:

  1. Belladonna: Used for throbbing headaches with pressure worsened by movement or light.
  2. Pulsatilla: Helpful for headaches with sinus congestion and thick, yellow mucus.
  3. Nux Vomica: Used for headaches caused by overindulgence in food or drink, accompanied by digestive issues.

It’s important to consult with a qualified homeopathic practitioner before using these remedies, as they can interact with other medications and may not be suitable for everyone.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While most cold headaches can be managed at home, there are times when seeking medical attention is necessary. Dr. Alex Green, Family Practitioner, notes, “In some cases, a cold headache may indicate a more severe sinus infection, in which case seeking medical attention is essential. Knowing when to consult a healthcare professional can prevent complications.”

Signs that you should see a doctor include:

  1. Severe headache pain that doesn’t respond to OTC medications
  2. High fever (above 101°F)
  3. Headache lasting more than 10 days
  4. Symptoms of a more serious condition, such as a stiff neck, confusion, or vision changes

Learn more about headache disease


A headache due to a cold can be a frustrating and painful experience, but understanding the causes, symptoms, and available remedies can help you find relief. By managing your cold symptoms effectively, using home remedies, and cautiously using OTC medications when needed, you can alleviate your headache and focus on recovering from your cold.

Remember to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and consult with a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen or persist. With the right approach and a little patience, you’ll be feeling better in no time.

People also ask

  1. What does a cold headache feel like?

    A cold headache feels like your head is wrapped in a tight band or doing a non-stop drum solo. It brings this thumping, pounding sensation, especially around your forehead and the sides of your head. Along with that, there’s this extra pressure around your nose, and sometimes, even the slightest light or sound feels like too much to handle. It’s like your head’s thrown into a whole new sensitivity mode, all thanks to that pesky cold.

  2. how to reduce headaches due to cold?

    To calm down a headache from a cold, start with some simple tricks. Rest up and give your body the break it needs. Stay hydrated—drink plenty of fluids like water or warm teas. Sometimes, avoiding caffeine or party animals like alcohol can ease that pounding. A warm or cold compress on your head might also work wonders. And hey, inhaling some steam could help clear things up in there. These little moves can help soothe that nagging headache caused by the cold.

  3. How long does a cold headache last?

    The duration of a cold-induced headache can vary. Generally, it hangs around as long as the cold does. Sometimes, it might stick with you throughout the cold visit, while for others, it might decide to pack its bags sooner. It’s a bit like a visitor—can’t say exactly when they’ll leave, but once the cold’s gone, the headache usually follows suit.

  4. How do I get rid of a headache due to a cold?

    When saying goodbye to a cold-related headache, keep things simple. Rest up and let your body heal. Hydrate like it’s your superpower—water, herbal teas, whatever floats your boat. Dodging caffeine and party animals like alcohol might help that headache hit the road sooner. Oh, and don’t forget about the power of a warm or cold compress on your head. Inhaling steam might also convince that headache it’s time to leave the building. These moves can show that headache from the cold to the exit door.

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Harshal Ukirde
Harshal Ukirde

5 years of experience in the medical field.
Dedicated to provide a best healthcare infromation for free.

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