Common Cold: Symptoms, Cold vs Flu, Duration, Treatment (2023)


Common Cold: Symptoms, Cold vs Flu, Duration, Treatment (1)

What is a cold?

A common cold is a contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract that affects the nose, throat, sinuses, and windpipe. More than 200 different viruses can cause a cold, but most colds are caused by a rhinovirus.

How common are colds?

As its name suggests, the common cold is very common. You will probably have more colds in your life than any other illness. Adults have two to three colds a year, while young children have four or more colds a year.

Are colds contagious?

Colds spread from person to person. For you to become infected, the virus must enter one of your mucous membranes: the moist lining of your nasal passages, eyes, or mouth. This happens when you touch a surface or breathe moist air that contains the common cold virus.

For example, when a sick person sneezes or coughs, droplets of a liquid containing the common cold virus are released into the air. When you breathe in these droplets, the cold virus gets stuck in your nose. They can also leave virus particles on surfaces you touch when you are sick. If another person touches these surfaces and then touches their nose, eyes, or mouth, the virus can enter.

Why do colds occur in winter?

You can catch a cold at any time of the year, but it is more likely in the colder months. In winter, people stay indoors and are in closer contact with each other.

A recent study in mice suggests that cold temperatures may also affect your immune system response. The researchers found that the mice's immune systems had a harder time stopping the rhinovirus from multiplying when cooler air lowered their nasal temperatures. The same can happen with humans.

Why do children catch colds more often?

Because young children have never been exposed to viruses, they catch more colds than adults. Your immune system must learn to recognize and deal with these new germs. By the time you grow up, you've had a lot of colds. It is easier for your immune system to identify and attack similar viruses.

Children also have close contact with other children. Children typically do not cover their coughs or sneezes or wash their hands before touching their faces, steps that help prevent the spread of the virus.

symptoms and causes

What causes the common cold?

Rhinoviruses cause up to 50% of common colds. There are more than 100 different rhinoviruses. But other types of viruses can also cause cold symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a cold?

Within one to three days after contracting a cold virus, symptoms such as:

  • Sneeze.
  • runny nose.
  • Tos.
  • sore throat.
  • headache.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Fever(more common in children).

How do you tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

It can be hard to tell if you have a cold or notGripe, since many of the symptoms are the same. Both are prevalent during the colder months and affect the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, and trachea). But different viruses cause the cold and the flu. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, while many other types of viruses cause the common cold.

The main difference betweencold and fluis that with the flu you are more likely to have fever and chills. Adults don't usually get a fever with a cold, although children sometimes do.

The flu also causes body aches and symptoms more severe than a cold. Although both the common cold and the flu can cause complications, complications from the flu can be life-threatening.

What is the difference between a cold and COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus)?

You may have heard that the common cold is a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause upper respiratory tract infections. While rhinoviruses cause most colds, some are caused by various coronaviruses. Most people recover quickly from these common colds.

Coronaviruses can also enter the lungs andlung infectionand other complications that can be fatal. A new (novel) type of coronavirus discovered in late 2019 causes a specific disease known asCOVID-19. Early symptoms that distinguish COVID-19 from a cold include:

  • Fever.
  • chills and tremors.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Loss of taste or smell (anosmia).
  • Diarrhea.

What is the difference between a cold and a cold?

A cold or acute (short-term)Bronchitis, causes irritation and mucus (mucus) in the lungs. Colds become colds when the virus travels from the nose and throat to the lungs. Occasionally, bacteria cause colds.

You may have a cough with a cold or a chest cold. But chest colds cause a wet cough, which means you may feel or cough up phlegm. You may also have:

  • A cough that keeps you up all night.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • A chest pain.

Does a cold affect pregnancy?

A cold during pregnancy is usually not dangerous. However, you should be careful about the cold medicines you take to treat symptoms. Your doctor can advise you which ones are safe to use during pregnancy.

If you think you may have the flu, or if you have a fever, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may need immediate treatment. Fever during early pregnancy is associated with it.birth defect.

diagnosis and tests

How is a cold diagnosed?

Usually, one exam is enough to determine if you have a cold. During a physical exam, your doctor will look for signs such as:

  • swelling in the nostrils.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Red and irritated throat.
  • swollen lymph nodes(lump) on the nape.
  • free lungs.

You may need tests if your provider suspects you have the flu or another condition. Your provider can do a nasal swab test (a cotton swab rubbed in your nose) to check for the flu virus.chest x-raysRule out bronchitis or pneumonia.

management and treatment

How are colds treated?

A cold cannot be cured. You have to let it run its course. Over-the-counter medicines can reduce your symptoms to make you more comfortable until you recover.

Why can't antibiotics cure a cold?

Antibiotics are medicines that fight infections caused by bacteria. Because viruses cause colds, antibiotics don't work for colds.

What cold medicines relieve symptoms?

Over-the-counter medicines to treat cold symptoms are widely available. But some of these medicines are not safe for children. Check with your doctor before giving your child over-the-counter medications. Be careful not to combine drugs that treat several symptoms. If you do, you could be overdosing (getting too much) of some ingredients, which could cause other health problems, including organ damage.

Medications that relieve cold symptoms include:

  • Analgesic: Paracetamol(Tylenol®) yAINEsuch as ibuprofen (Advil®) relieve headache and fever.
  • Decongestants:drugs likepseudoefedrina(Contac Cold 12 Hour® y Sudafed®) yFenilefrina(Sudafed PE®) are designed to reduce constipation.
  • Antihistamines: diphenhydramine(Benadryl®) and other antihistamines stop sneezing and runny nose.
  • cough medicine:medicines likedextrometorfano(Robitussin® and Vicks DayQuil Cough®) and codeine reduce coughing.
  • The expectorant: guaifenesina(Mucinex®) and other expectorants thin and loosen mucus.

What are the best cold remedies?

You may have heard that dietary supplements and herbal remedies likezinc,Vitamin Cyechinaceacan treat and prevent colds.

Researchers have not found that any of these remedies can prevent the common cold. But zinc can shorten the disease and relieve symptoms. However, it can cause permanent loss of smell, especially if you use it in nasal sprays.

The best and safest way to recover quickly is to get plenty of rest. Consider taking time off work or school for at least the first few days of illness. Not only will you have more time to rest, but you'll also avoid spreading germs to other people.

Also, make sure you aredrink much liquidto keep nose and throat moist. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they are dehydrating.


How to prevent a cold?

There are several steps you can take to prevent a cold, including:

  • wash your hands, especially before eating or preparing food. you also wantwash your handsafter going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, or coming into contact with someone who has a cold.
  • Avoid touching your face. Cold viruses spread from hands to eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean frequently used surfaces.Viruses can live on doorknobs and other places that people touch frequently.
  • Use hand sanitizerif you cannot wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Strengthen your immune systemSo your body is ready to fight germs. Get enough sleep, eat healthy andthe exercise.
  • stay home if you are sickto make sure you don't spread the cold to others.

Outlook / Forecast

How long does a cold last?

Colds usually clear up within seven to ten days.

When can you return to work or school?

They can be contagious for up to two weeks and even spread a cold a day or two before you have symptoms. But you're most contagious when your symptoms are worst, usually the first three days you feel sick.

Can a cold kill?

The common cold is not fatal. In some people, especially the weak.immune system, a cold can lead to other conditions that can cause serious health problems. These complications can include:

  • Asma.
  • sinus infection.
  • ear infection.

to live with

When does a cold require medical attention?

Contact your doctor if you have any of the following problems:

  • High fever.
  • Chest pain.
  • earache.
  • asthma attack.
  • Symptoms that last more than 10 days or get worse.

See a doctor if your child:

  • You develop a high fever.
  • stop eating
  • Cries more than usual.
  • You have ear or stomach pain.
  • He starts panting.
  • He is more sleepy than usual.


Although they cause discomfort, colds are usually harmless. You can treat the symptoms with medication. Speed ​​your recovery by resting and drinking a lot, and by avoiding socializing with other people. If you don't feel better after 10 days, contact your doctor.

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