Colds are viral infections that affect the throat and nose. It is medically know as an upper respiratory tract infection. This infection is self-limiting, meaning that it can only last for a certain amount of time before going away on its own. Usually, cold symptoms aren’t serious and go away within 1-2 weeks. There are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold; however, the most common is the rhinovirus which is the cause of almost half of colds in adults.
Colds typically are most common in the fall and winter. You cannot get a cold from the same virus more than once, but there are so many new cold viruses that you will always be susceptible to colds, which is why people tend to get them several times a year. Children can get up to 12 colds a year, whereas adults tend to have up to 5 a year.
Cold Symptoms Exposed
Colds can be easily transmitted by contaminated surfaces because the virus can last for a few hours on hard surfaces. When one sneezes or coughs, they can spread the virus via droplets in the air. These droplets can be breathed in by individuals nearby. Despite common myths, catching a cold has nothing to do with cold weather. It is believed that people get colds more often in the fall and winter because individuals spend more time inside and are in close proximity to others, therefore increasing the chances of spreading viruses.
Cold symptoms usually start a few days after one is infected. Symptoms can include sneezing, a sore or scratchy throat, congested or runny nose, watery eyes, earaches (more common in children), headaches, body aches, slight fever, fatigue, and coughing that is initially dry, but accompanied by phlegm later. The cold virus can also infect other parts of the body, such as the eye. This occurs when individuals wipe their nose with their hands and then touch their eyes. This can result in pink eye (conjunctivitis).
Sometimes, people find it difficult to distinguish a common cold between influenza (flu). Influenza is caused by the influenza virus. At times, the symptoms between the two can be similar, but influenza symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms. Influenza symptoms can also be accompanied by chills and extreme fatigue and weakness.
Getting sufficient rest and consuming a good amount of fluids can speed recovery and diminish the cold symptoms more quickly.
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