Common cold

Alternative Names

Upper respiratory infection – viral; Cold

Definition of Common cold

The common cold generally involves a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. You may also have a sore throat, cough, headache, or other symptoms. Over 200 viruses can cause a cold.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

We call it the “common cold” for good reason. There are over colds in the United States each year. You and your children will probably have more colds than any other type of illness. Children average three to eight colds per year. They continue getting them throughout childhood. Parents often get them from the kids. Colds are the most common reason that children miss school and parents miss work.

Symptoms

The three most frequent symptoms of a cold are:

Treatment

Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter cold remedies may help ease your symptoms. These won’t actually shorten the length of a cold, but can help you feel better.

Expectations (prognosis)

The symptoms usually go away in 7 to 10 days.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 1/10/2010

Throat anatomy
Cold symptoms
Antibodies

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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