Common Cold

  • Medical Author:
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideHow to Prevent the Common Cold

How to Prevent 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.

Reviewed on 2/13/2017
References
REFERENCES:

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Common Cold and Runny Nose." Mar. 16, 2016.<https://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/colds.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others." Feb. 6, 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/>.

IMAGES:

1.Getty Images/Image Source

2.Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Carol & Mike Werner

3.Getty Images/Bernhard Lang

4.Getty Images/KidStock

5.Getty Images

6.iStock

7.Getty Images

8.iStock

9.iStock

10.MedicineNet

11.Getty Images/Tim Hawley

12.Getty Images/Jamie Grill

13.Getty Images/Blend Images - JGI/Jamie Grill

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors