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?
Does it have anything to do with exposure to cold weather?
Though the common cold usually occurs in the winter months, the cold weather itself does not cause the common cold. Rather, it is thought that during cold-weather months, people spend more time indoors in close proximity to each other, thus facilitating the spread of the virus. For this same reason, children in day care and school are particularly prone to acquiring the common cold. The low humidity during these colder months is also felt to contribute to the increased prevalence of the common cold, as many of the implicated viruses seem to survive better in low-humidity conditions.
What are the stages of the common cold?
Because the common cold can be caused by so many different viruses, the progression and severity of symptoms vary from individual to individual. In general, symptoms will develop two to three days after the virus is contracted. Some individuals will develop very mild symptoms whereas others will develop more severe symptoms. The type of symptoms will also vary, with some individuals developing only nasal congestion, while others may develop many or all of the symptoms described above. The symptoms that develop also depend on the underlying health of the person infected.
Most colds will resolve after seven to 10 days, though some individuals experience a shorter course and others a more prolonged illness, again depending on the particular virus involved and as well as the person’s underlying health issues.