What is the common cold?

The early symptoms of a common cold include a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and a scratchy, sore throat. Because the common cold is so common, most people are able to recognise the early signs and symptoms. Adults, on average, get two to three colds every year. The common cold is a viral illness that affects the upper respiratory tract. There are around 200 viruses that can cause a cold. Rhinoviruses are the most frequent.

These viruses can quickly transfer from one person to another or from one surface to another. Many of these viruses may survive for hours, if not days, on surfaces. While you may be familiar with the common cold, there are several things you should know about it that can help you feel better, avoid future colds, and even prevent the virus from spreading to others. Continue reading to learn more. A common cold usually lasts a week or ten days for most people. People who smoke may experience symptoms that last longer. A common cold, in most cases, does not necessitate medical care. Consult your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.

Symptoms of Cold

Cold symptoms usually occur 1 to 3 days after being exposed to a cold-causing virus. The symptoms of a cold rarely appear suddenly.

Nasal symptoms include:

Whole body symptoms include:

  • Fatigue or general tiredness
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Chest discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing deeply
  • Low-grade fever below 102°F (38.9°C)

As a common cold progresses, the discharge from your nose may become clear and thicker, turning yellow or green. But this isn't always indicative of a bacterial illness.

Symptoms of Common Cold

When to see a doctor?

Cold symptoms usually last 7 to 10 days. Symptoms usually peak around day five and then improve gradually. However, if the symptoms worsen after a week or don't go away after ten days, you may have a different problem and should visit a doctor.

For adults: A common cold usually does not need medical care. However, patients should get medical help if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Symptoms that get worse or do not get better
  • Fever at 101.3 F (38.5 C) lasting more than three days
  • Recurrent fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Severe sore throat, headache or sinus pain

For children: In general, the child does not need to see a doctor if they have a regular cold. However, if the kid develops any of the following symptoms, get medical help immediately away:

  • Fever of 100.4 F (38 C) in newborns for weeks
  • In a child of any age who has a rising fever or a fever that lasts longer than two days
  • Severe symptoms, such as a headache, a sore throat, or a persistent cough
  • Breathing problems or wheezing
  • Ear ache
  • Extreme prudence
  • Drowsiness that is unusual
  • Lack of appetite

Doctors at Medicover can help you get the right treatment for any Viral diseases and infections.


Although a cold can be caused by various viruses; rhinoviruses are the most prevalent cause. When someone ill coughs, and sneezes, the cold virus enters your body through your lips, eyes, or nose (the virus can spread through droplets in the air). You might get cold by contacting infected things and surfaces and touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Risk factors

Certain factors can make you more susceptible to a cold. These include the following:

  • Colds can strike at any time of year, although they're more frequent in the fall and winter and during wet seasons. When it's chilly and rainy outside, we spend more time inside, increasing the risk of the virus spreading.
  • Colds are more common in children under the age of six. Their risk is significantly higher if they're in a daycare or a childcare facility with other children.
  • When you're in closer range with many people, such as on a plane or at a concert, you're more likely to come into contact with rhinoviruses.
  • If you have a chronic condition or have recently been sick, the immune system may be compromised, making you more susceptible to catching a cold virus.
  • Smokers have a higher risk of getting a cold, and their colds are usually more severe.
  • Inadequate or irregular sleep can impair your immune system, making you more prone to cold viruses.


A normal cold does not necessitate a visit to the doctor. However, you should contact your doctor if the symptoms intensify or don't go away.

Most persons with a common cold may be identified based on their symptoms. Your doctor may request a chest X-ray or other tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms if they feel you have a bacterial infection or another ailment.


Although there is no one cure for the common cold, combining treatments may help to lessen the symptoms.

Pain relievers and nasal sprays are commonly used in over-the-counter cold treatments. Some are available on their own. These include the following:

  • Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen reduce headaches and fever.
  • Drugs that relieve stuffiness include pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine.
  • Diphenhydramine and other antihistamines relieve sneezing, and a runny nose.
  • Dextromethorphan and codeine are cough suppressants.
  • Expectorants thin and loosen mucus. Guaifenesin and other expectorants are examples.
  • Afrin, Sinex, and Nasacort are decongestant nasal sprays that can help clear the nasal cavity.
  • Cough syrups are used to treat chronic coughs and sore throats.

Do’s and Don’ts

Although various viruses can cause the common cold, the symptoms are the same sore throat, runny nose, lethargy, cough, mild fever, and body pains. You'll probably have two to four colds every year if you're an adult. Colds are one of the most prevalent illnesses in our patients, so it's crucial to know the do’s and don'ts of having one.

Do’s Don’ts
Get adequate sleep, exercise daily, and eat nutritious meals. Take antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water. Excessively touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
When coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with your arm (not your hands). Share cups, glasses or utensils among family members, especially during peak cold.
Use paper tissues that can be thrown away after usage instead of cotton handkerchiefs to avoid the spread of cold. Ignore cold symptoms that are becoming worse.
Use effective over-the-counter medications. Take ineffective medicines.

Take care of yourself, sleep well, and rest to recover faster.

Common Cold Care at Medicover

We have the best team of general physicians and specialists at Medicover who treat Common Cold and its severe symptoms. Our highly trained physicians use the most up-to-date diagnostic techniques and procedures to run tests, diagnose, and treat the common cold in adults and infants. Our experts work closely with the patients to monitor their health and treatment progress to achieve a faster and more sustained recovery.

Find Common Cold Specialists here

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