Common cold


The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The main symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing. It is the most common illness in people of all ages, and typically resolves itself within one to two weeks. Treatment typically consists of over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and pain relievers, as well as self-care measures like rest and plenty of fluids.


The common cold is a very common illness that is caused by many different viruses. The most common symptoms of a cold include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, body aches, mild headache and low-grade fever. Other symptoms can include chills, loss of appetite, sinus congestion and a general feeling of being unwell.


The common cold is caused by a virus, usually a rhinovirus, although there are many different viruses that can cause the common cold. Common cold viruses are spread through contact with an infected person, such as through sneezing, coughing, shaking hands, and touching contaminated surfaces. Other risk factors include contact with large groups of people, exposure to cold weather, and smoking.

Risk factors

The major risk factor for catching a common cold is being exposed to a virus that causes the cold. This can be from contact with the saliva, mucus, or respiratory droplets of an infected person. Other risk factors that can increase one’s susceptibility to developing a cold include:

  • Low immunity: People with weakened immune systems or who are already sick are more at risk of developing a cold.
  • Poor Hygiene: Not washing hands after being around an infected person or touching contaminated surfaces increases the risk of colds.
  • Age: Toddlers, children, and the elderly are more likely to get colds than adults.
  • Weather: Cold and dry weather conditions can weaken the body’s immune system and increase the risk of infection.
  • Stress: High levels of stress can cause the body’s defenses to weaken, and can also increase the risk of infection.


Common cold is typically diagnosed based on a person’s medical history and physical exam. Your doctor may take your temperature, listen to your chest and nose with a stethoscope, and inspect your throat. They may also perform a throat culture to look for bacteria, a rapid antigen test to look for viral particles, or a blood test to look for antibodies and other markers of infection.


The common cold, also known as acute viral nasopharyngitis or acute coryza, is caused by a number of different viruses and is one of the most common infectious diseases. Subtypes of common cold include rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Rhinovirus is the most common cause of common cold and is responsible for 20-40% of colds in adults and 40-50% in children. Rhinovirus is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions or contact with infected surfaces. Symptoms of rhinovirus include runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, congestion, and fever.

Coronavirus, another viral agent responsible for common cold, is estimated to cause 10-30% of colds in adults and 5-15% in children. Coronaviruses are spread through contact with respiratory secretions, as well as contact with contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of coronavirus are generally similar to rhinovirus, and can include runny nose, sore throat, body aches, fever, and cough.

Adenovirus is a common cause of the common cold, but less common than rhinovirus and coronavirus, causing 5-10% of colds in adults and 10-15% in children. Adenoviruses are spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions, as well as contact with contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of adenovirus may include a sore throat, coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose, and fever.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is also a viral agent responsible for common colds, but much less common in adults than in children, causing about 5% of colds in adults and 10-15% in children. RSV is spread through contact with respiratory secretions, as well as contact with contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of RSV include runny nose, coughing, chest pain, and fever. In young children, it can cause additional symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bluish skin coloring, or rapid breathing.


The common cold is a mild viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that typically resolves itself on its own. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are several treatment options available to help alleviate the symptoms.

Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can be used to reduce throat and nasal congestion, and pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate body aches and fever. Saline nasal sprays can help to soothe nasal passages and reduce congestion. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest can help support the body’s natural healing process.

In severe cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat a secondary infection. It is important to speak to a doctor before taking any medication, as certain medications may interact with other medications or cause serious side effects.


To reduce the risk of catching the common cold, it is important to practice good hygiene and healthy habits. Some key steps to take are: washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water, avoiding contact with people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, avoiding close contact with others (maintaining at least 6 feet of distance), and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Additionally, you can also take Vitamin C supplements or eat food rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and kale.

Gender differences?

Yes, there are gender-specific differences in the presentation and management of Common cold. Recent research has shown that men tend to be more likely to experience more severe symptoms and longer duration of the common cold than women. Women also tend to have a greater risk of developing complications from the common cold than men, such as bronchitis, sinusitis and otitis media (middle ear infection). In terms of management, women are more likely to seek medical care for the common cold, whereas men may take a more “wait and see” approach. Research has also shown that men are more likely to take over-the-counter medications, whereas women are more likely to use home remedies or try to “tough it out” until the cold runs its course.


Nutrition plays an important role in the management of the common cold. Eating well-balanced meals helps the body gain the vitamins and minerals needed to fight infection and strengthen the immune system. Adding foods that are high in vitamins, such as citrus and dark leafy greens, can also help ward off colds and reduce the severity of symptoms. Additionally, staying hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water can help clear mucus, relieve congestion, and provide essential electrolytes. Eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated is an important part of managing the common cold and preventative measure against future illness.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is thought to have a protective effect against the common cold, potentially due to its ability to boost the immune system. Exercise is believed to increase the production of white blood cells, which help the body fight off viruses or bacterial infections, making it more difficult for a person to catch the cold. Additionally, physical activity can help improve airway health by increasing airflow, which can reduce irritation in the nose and throat and help to flush out virus particles. It has also been suggested that activity can help reduce stress, which is linked to illness as well.

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