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Common Cold (cont.)

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How is the common cold transmitted?

The common cold is spread either by direct contact with infected secretions from contaminated surfaces or by inhaling the airborne virus after individuals sneeze or cough. Person-to-person transmission often occurs when an individual who has a cold blows or touches their nose and then touches someone or something else. A healthy individual who then makes direct contact with these secretions can subsequently become infected, often after their contaminated hands make contact with their own eyes, nose, or mouth. A cold virus can live on objects such as pens, books, telephones, computer keyboards, and coffee cups for several hours and can thus be acquired from contact with these objects.

What are risk factors for acquiring the common cold?

There are various factors that may increase the chances of acquiring the common cold, including the following:

  • Age: Infants and young children are more likely to develop the common cold because they have not yet developed immunity to many of the implicated viruses.
  • Seasonal variation: Individuals more commonly acquire the common cold during the fall and winter, or during the rainy season (in warmer climates). This is felt to occur because people tend to stay indoors and are in closer proximity to one another.
  • Weakened immune system: Individuals with a poorly functioning immune system are more likely to develop the common cold.

What are the symptoms and signs of the common cold in adults, children, and infants?

The symptoms of the common cold typically begin two to three days after acquiring the infection (incubation period), though this may vary depending on the type of virus causing the infection. Symptoms and signs of the common cold may also vary depending on the virus responsible for the infection and may include

The signs and symptoms of the common cold in infants and children are similar to those seen in adults. The cold may begin with a runny nose with clear nasal discharge, which later may become yellowish or greenish in color. Infants and children may also become more fussy and have decreased appetite.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/15/2014

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Common Cold - What You Do To Avoid Question: What do you do to avoid catching a cold?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/common_cold/article.htm

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