The common cold is a self-limited contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. Sniffles, sneezes, perhaps a sore throat and an annoying cough are the symptoms that are most common. The common cold is medically referred to as a viral upper respiratory tract infection occurring at any time of the year, but most commonly in the winter or rainy season.

The Common Cold.Eviasis.ent

The Common Cold

Symptoms usually arise about 2 or 3 days after having been in contact with the virus, although it could take up to a week. Symptoms mostly affect the nose.

 The common cold symptoms are:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Adults and older children with colds generally have a low fever or no fever.

Depending on which virus caused your cold, you may also have: 

  • Cough 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sore throat

In fact, children in preschool and elementary school can have 6 to 12 colds per year while adolescents and adults typically have two to four colds per year.

This occurs mostly during the winter season due to closer contact in closed spaces that don’t have the appropriate ventilation.

How is the common cold transmitted?

Transmission of virus.Eviasis.ent

Transmission of virus

The common cold is spread 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 a 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, often after their contaminated hands make contact with their own eyes or nose.
A cold virus can live on objects such as pens, books, telephones, computer keyboards, and coffee cups for several hours and can thus be acquired from contact with these objects.
  • Wash your hands. Clean your hands thoroughly and often, and teach your children the importance of hand washing.
  • Scrub your stuff. Keep kitchen and bathroom counter-tops clean, especially when someone in your family has a common cold. Wash children’s toys periodically.
  • Use tissues. Always sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away, and then wash your hands carefully. Teach children to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow when they don’t have a tissue. That way they cover their mouths without using their hands.
  • Don’t share. Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass or disposable cups when you or someone else is sick. Label the cup or glass with the name of the person with the cold.
  • Steer clear of colds. Avoid close, prolonged contact with anyone who has a cold.


The common cold does NOT need antibiotics!!!
  • Stay hydrated. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration.
  • Rest. Your body needs rest to heal.
  • Soothe a sore throat.
  • Combat stuffiness.
  • Relieve pain.