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?
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.
How long is the common cold contagious?
In general, the common cold can be contagious anywhere from one to two days before the symptoms begin up until the symptoms have completely resolved. However, the common cold is typically most contagious during the first two to three days of illness.