Usually, teens have a healthy immune system to cope with the common cold. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids can ease the symptoms. A warm bath or heating pad can soothe aches and pains, and the steam from a hot shower can help in better breathing. Most doctors recommend acetaminophen for aches, pains, and fever. In rare cases, doctors may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral treatment for a specific period of time.
What is the common cold?
A cold (common cold) is a viral infection. It affects the upper respiratory system that includes the nose, throat, and sinuses. The common cold is a self-limited contagious disease. Most teens get between two and four colds a year. The common cold is the most frequently occurring viral infection in the world, and it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. The usual symptoms of common cold include the following:
Is the common cold contagious?
Common cold is usually caused by the virus group called rhinoviruses, which are highly contagious. The common cold spreads 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 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. If the virus gets through the protective lining of the nose and throat, it triggers an immune reaction that can start symptoms of cold.
How long do symptoms of the common cold last in the body?
The duration of common cold in a body depends on a person’s immune system. Some individuals will develop very mild symptoms, whereas others may develop more severe symptoms. The type of symptoms may also vary, with some individuals developing only nasal congestion, whereas 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. Old people and people with diabetes generally are at a risk of secondary infection by a bacterium. Most colds will resolve after 7-10 days, although some individuals experience a shorter course and others a more prolonged illness, depending on the particular virus involved, as well as underlying health issues. If a teen or person has a weak immune system, they may need medical attention.
Does the common cold require a doctor’s attention?
Not everyone may require doctor supervision or attention for common cold because it is a self-limited contagious disease. However, teens with a weak immune system or preexisting respiratory infections such as asthma or pneumonia may require doctor supervision. A teen may need medical attention if they have below conditions:
- If cold symptoms last for more than a week or appear at the same time every year or whenever they are exposed to pollen, dust, animals, or some other substance (allergy)
- Trouble breathing or wheezes during cold (like asthma)
- Worsening symptoms
- Cough if lasts for more than two to three weeks
- Inability to keep food or liquids down
- Increasing headache or facial or throat pain
- Severe painful sore throat
- Fever of 103°F (39.3°C) or higher or a fever of 102°F (38.9°C) that lasts for more than a day
- Chest or stomach pain
- Swollen glands (lymph nodes)
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Can Teens Cope With Cold? Related Articles
Can I Get Any STDs Through Clothing?Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) cannot be transmitted through clothing. Some such as pubic lice, scabies and molluscum contagiosum can be transmitted by sharing clothes with an infected person.
Cold & Flu QuizAches? Pain? Fever? This Cold & Flu Quiz tests your knowledge on the difference between coming down with the common cold and sickness from influenza virus.
Cold and Cough Medicine for Infants and Children
The safety of giving infants and children over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicine is important for caregivers to understand. While there is no "gold standard" recommendation for giving infants and children OTC cold and cough medicine for fever, aches, cough, and runny nose, a few standards have been recommended.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine only be used in children age four years and older.
The American College of Chest Physicians recommend that these medicines only be used in children age 15 years and older.
The FDA recommends that OTC cold and cough medicine be used in children 2 years of age and older.
However, there is agreement in regard to which OTC medications should not be used in children under the age of four (or the age of two, depending upon which guidelines are used), and they are 1) certain antihistamines like brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine maleate, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl); 2) cough expectorants (guaifenesin); 3) cough suppressants (dextromethorphan, DM); and 4) decongestants (pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine).
Aspirin should never be given to infants, children, and adolescents due to the possibility of a rare, but often severe and even fatal illness called Reye's syndrome.
FDA. "Most Young Children with a Cough or Cold Don't Need Medicines." July 18, 2017.
FDA. "Use Caution When Giving Cough and Cold Products to Kids." Updated: Nov 04, 2016.
Cold, Flu, Allergy TreatmentsBefore treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Common ColdThe common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
How to Prevent the Common ColdWhat home remedies work for the common cold? The common cold is arguably the most common human illness. Learn how long the common cold lasts and treatment for the common cold, and see how often people get colds.
Common Cold QuizTake this quiz to learn the truth behind the infectious, contagious, uncomfortable disease known as the common cold. Test your knowledge of colds; get prevention tips, and learn what you may want to avoid when treating a cold!
Common Cold: Early Signs and 4 StagesThe common cold or viral rhinitis is an upper respiratory infection caused by several types of viruses. It is one of the most common infectious diseases affecting humans. A common cold may typically follow a certain pattern of progression that has four different stages.
COVID-19 vs. Flu vs. ColdWhen you're feeling sick, it can be difficult to distinguish the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection from the symptoms of the common cold or the flu (influenza). While fever is common with the flu and COVID-19, sneezing is typically only associated with colds. Though sore throats are typical with colds, they are uncommon with COVID-19 infections and the flu.
How Do I Deal With My 17-Year-Old Daughter?Your 17-year-old daughter is on the cusp of adulthood. Deal with your 17-year-old daughter by creating a relationship with her, giving her space, set healthy boundaries, encourage her to express her individuality and using many other strategies.
How Do You Get Rid of a Cold Overnight?Cold symptoms are part of your body’s healing processes. Most of the time, it does not require any help. However, you can get rid of a cold faster, even overnight, by resting, drinking hot fluids, blowing your nose, gargling with salt water, taking a hot shower, using a humidifier and taking OTC pain relievers and decongestants.
How Long Is a Cold or Flu Contagious?Viruses cause the common cold and the flu. Early symptoms and signs for a cold and the flu are similar, however, flu symptoms are typically more severe than cold symptoms. Cold and flu viruses are transmitted typically via coughing or sneezing.
Nasal IrrigationClogged sinuses and congestion bothering you? Nasal irrigation can relieve sinus symptoms associated with colds and allergies. Learn how to do nasal irrigation with this visual guide from WebMD.
How to Get Rid of a Cold: Natural RemediesWhat home remedies work to get rid of a cold fast? Many claim cold symptoms and flu symptoms can be relieved with Echinacea, zinc, neti pots, garlic, vitamin C, saltwater gargles, nasal strips, or bed rest. Find out what cold and flu treatments work the natural way, and what doesn't.
When Should You See a Doctor for Upper Respiratory Infection?What is an upper respiratory infection? Learn the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection and what to do about it.