Table of Contents
- Common cold facts
- What is the common cold? What causes the common cold?
- How is the common cold transmitted?
- How long is the common cold contagious?
- What are risk factors for acquiring the common cold?
- What are the symptoms and signs of the common cold in adults, children, and infants? What is the incubation period of the common cold?
- Does it have anything to do with exposure to cold weather?
- What are the stages of the common cold?
- Common cold vs. flu (influenza)
- What types of doctors treat the common cold?
- How do health care professionals diagnose the common cold?
- What is the treatment for the common cold? Are there any home remedies for the common cold?
- Are antibiotics a suitable treatment for the common cold?
- When should someone consult a health care professional?
- What is the prognosis for the common cold? What is the duration of the common cold?
- What are complications of the common cold?
- Is it possible to prevent the common cold?
- Where can people find more information about the common cold?
What is the common cold? What causes the common cold?
The common cold is a self-limited contagious disease that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. The common cold is medically referred to as a viral upper respiratory tract infection. Symptoms of the common cold may include cough, sore throat, low-grade fever, watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. More than 200 different types of viruses are known to cause the common cold, with rhinovirus causing approximately 10%-40% of all adult colds. Other commonly implicated viruses include coronavirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and parainfluenza virus. Because so many different viruses can cause the common cold, and because new cold viruses constantly develop, the body never builds up resistance against all of them. For this reason, colds are a frequent and recurring problem. In fact, children in preschool and elementary school can have six to 12 colds per year while adolescents and adults typically have two to four colds per year. The common cold occurs most frequently during the fall, winter, and spring.
The common cold is the most frequently occurring disease in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. It is estimated that individuals in the United States suffer 1 billion colds per year, with approximately 22 million days of school absences recorded annually. In the United States, the common cold is thought to account for approximately 75-100 million physician visits annually, with an economic impact of greater than $20 billion per year due to cold-related work loss.