Common cold

Common cold

Last Reviewed : 12/25/2020
Common cold

Common cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose. The throat, sinuses, and voice box may also be affected. Signs and symptoms may begin less than two days following exposure. They include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, headache, and fever. People usually recover in seven to ten days. Some symptoms may last up to three weeks. In those with other health problems,pneumonia may occasionally develop.

Well over 200 virus strains are implicated in the cause of the common cold; the rhinoviruses are the most common. They spread through the air during close contact with infected people and indirectly through contact with objects in the environment followed by transfer to the mouth or nose. Risk factors include going to daycare, not sleeping well, and psychological stress. Symptoms are mostly due to the body's immune response to the infection rather than to tissue destruction by the viruses themselves. People with influenza often show similar symptoms as people with a cold, though symptoms are usually more severe in the former.

There is no vaccine for the common cold. The primary methods of prevention are hand washing; not touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; and staying away from other sick people. Some evidence supports the use of face masks. No cure for the common cold exists, but the symptoms can be treated. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may help with pain. Antibiotics should not be used. Evidence does not support a benefit from cough medicines.

The common cold is the most frequent infectious disease in humans. The average adult gets two to four colds a year, while the average child may get six to eight. They occur more commonly during the winter. These infections have been with humanity since ancient times.


We researched this topic for you and found the following best online resources. They are categorized into basic, advanced, and research level based on the extent of information you need. You will be taken to the respective websites by pressing on the links below.


Basic information: web md understanding the common cold -- the basics common cold mayo clinic common cold nhs uk common cold cdc common colds: protect yourself and others kids health common cold health line common cold new york times common cold merck manuals (professional version) common cold university of maryland medical center common cold cleveland clinic common cold,p02966/john hopkins medical library upper respiratory infection (uri or common cold) better health channel colds the fit indian common cold symptoms – causes, treatments, and prevention measures canada common cold healthy children rhinovirus infections.


Advanced information: medicine net common cold medical news today common colds: symptoms, treatments, prevention patient common cold (and other upper respiratory tract infections),-common/ health service executive cold, common upto date patient education: the common cold in adults (beyond the basics)


Research: echinacea for treating the common cold: a randomized trial bruce barrett, md, phd; roger brown, phd; dave rakel, md; marlon mundt, phd; kerry bone, dip phyto; shari barlow, ba; and tola ewers, ms ann intern med. 2010;153(12):769-777. Doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-12-201012210-00003 psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold by sheldon cohen, ph.d., et al., n engl j med 1991; 325:606-612august 29, 1991doi: 10.1056/nejm199108293250903 influence of patient symptoms and physical findings on general practitioners' treatment of respiratory tract infections: a direct observation study by thomas fischer et al., bmc family practice20056:6 doi: 10.1186/1471-2296-6-6 douglas rm, hemilä h (2005) vitamin c for preventing and treating the common cold. Plos med 2(6): e168. kenji kawakita, toshiyuki shichidou, etsuko inoue, et al., “do japanese style acupuncture and moxibustion reduce symptoms of the common cold?,” evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 481-489, 2008. Doi:10.1093/ecam/nem055


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Presentations/quiz/newspaper articles: the guardian washington post five myths about the common cold live science a vaccine for the common cold may be possible cnn common cold the conversation health check: what is the common cold and how do we get it? independant humans caught the common cold from camels, scientists discover the star why there is still no cure for the common cold today cold misery: which remedies work, which are a waste of your time mirror how to get rid of a cold: tried and tested remedies for feeling better scientific american allergies, asthma and the common cold daily mail have we finally found a cure for the common cold? Taking zinc lozenges can speed up recovery by three full days

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