A Fever, Headache and Muscle Aches

A fever, headache and muscle aches are all symptoms of the common cold 2. The common cold affects billions of Americans each year, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 2. The common cold is the most prevalent during the winter months and children are at a higher risk of getting a cold 2. The common cold typically lasts one to two weeks with minor symptoms 2. Visit the doctor at the first signs of the common cold for a proper diagnosis 2.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


The common cold is caused by a virus that is spread from human-to-human contact 2. Most virus particles enter the body through the nose or mouth, according to MayoClinic.com 1. When a virus enters the body, the immune system immediately attempts to fight it off by raising the body’s temperature. This rise in body temperature is a fever. The rise in body temperature will cause head pain and aching muscles.


Having a cold will cause other symptoms aside from a fever, headache and muscle aches. Common effects of the common cold are coughing, nasal congestion, a runny nose, itchy throat, watery eyes, decreased appetite and sneezing 2. These symptoms typically make someone lethargic and sleepy. The body’s immune system is working overtime by fighting off the viral infection, which requires the body to sleep more.


The best treatment for a fever, headache and muscle aches from the common cold is to use over-the-counter pain reliever and fever-reducer medications, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 2. Common pain relievers and fever reducers are acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. MayoClinic.com warns not to give aspirin products to children or young adults under the age of 18, as there is a potential link to Ryne’s Syndrome 1.


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases states that the best way to prevent the spread of the common cold viruses is to wash the hands often, stay away from sick people, disinfect public areas and stay current on vaccinations 2. The common cold viruses are spread primarily from obtaining a virus on the hands 2. Proper hand washing will kill the virus before it can enter the body. Use disinfectants on doorknobs, countertops and in bathrooms to kill germs and viruses.


The most common cause of fever, headache and muscle aches is the common cold, but they may be symptoms of another medical condition or illness 2. If other symptoms develop such as severe facial pain, swelling or difficulty breathing, contact a doctor. If symptoms do not improve within a week, make another appointment with the doctor.