Common cold


The common cold primarily affects the nose and throat, and while it is generally not considered a severe illness, it can be quite uncomfortable. This condition is primarily caused by viral infections.

Common colds can spread rapidly, particularly in close quarters like homes, offices, and classrooms. They are caused by a multitude of different viruses, with over 200 known strains.

In the case of adults, it’s not uncommon for them to experience two or three colds each year. Children, especially infants and young ones, tend to be more susceptible to frequent colds.

For most individuals, a common cold typically lasts for about 7 to 10 days before symptoms subside. However, smokers may experience more persistent symptoms. In general, common colds usually do not necessitate medical intervention. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to consult a doctor if your symptoms worsen or fail to improve over time.


Common cold symptoms often appear one to three days after a person is infected with the virus. The symptoms differ and they may consist of:

  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headaches or body aches
  • Itchy or sore throat
  • Feeling sick

Your nose’s mucus may begin clear at first and then become yellow or green as it thickens. This shift is typical. It doesn’t usually indicate that you have a bacterial infection.

Adults. For the most part, a common cold does not require medical attention. However, consult your doctor if you have:

  • Symptoms that either do not improve or get worse.
  • Too much headache, sinus pain, or sore throat pain
  • A fever lasting more than three days and higher than 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit (38.5 degrees Celsius).
  • Recurring fever following a time of no fever
  • Wheezing.
  • Difficulty of breathing

Children. The majority of kids with a common cold don’t require medical attention. If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms, get them checked out straight away:

  • Breathing difficulties or wheezing.
  • In neonates up to 12 weeks of age, a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
  • A child of any age with a rising fever or a fever that lasts longer than two days.
  • Severe symptoms including coughing, headaches, or sore throats.
  • Ear pain.
  • Exceptionally fussy or sleepy behavior.
  • Loss of appetite


The common cold can be attributed to various viruses, with rhinoviruses being the most frequent offenders.

It is through the mouth, eyes, or nose that a cold virus enters the body. The virus may proliferate through:

  • Droplets released into the air when a sick person talks, sneezes, or coughs.
  • Making physical touch with a sick person.
  • Spreading the virus via shared items like dishes, towels, toys, or phones.
  • After coming into contact with the virus, touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Risk factors

The following variables may make catching a cold more likely:

  • Age. Compared to other individuals, infants and young children are more susceptible to colds, especially if they spend time in child care facilities.
  • Being immunocompromised. Your risk increases if you have a compromised immune system or a chronic illness.
  • Exposure. The likelihood of catching a cold rises when one is in close quarters, such on a flight or at school.
  • Time of year. In the fall and winter, colds are more common in both adults and children.
  • Smoking. Colds are more likely to strike people who smoke or who are around secondhand smoke.