Common cold



An infection of the nose and throat caused by a virus.


Cold viruses spread when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks. These viruses also spread on shared objects or through hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold. Most colds are mild, but some may lead to other health problems.


Cold symptoms often start 1 to 3 days after contact with a virus. Symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, a sore or scratchy throat, and coughing and sneezing. People may feel generally not well and have body aches or headache. Some may have a low fever.


There is no cure for a cold. But rest and drinking liquids can help. Some people use humidifiers or saline nasal rinses as well. Decongestants or pain relievers you can buy without a prescription may help with discomfort from some symptoms. Most people recover from a cold within two weeks. A cough may last longer.