What is a common cold?
A cold is a viral infection that affects the upper airway including the nose, pharynx, throat, airways, and lungs. The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, including the nose, throat, sinuses, eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes. Although over 200 different viruses can cause a cold, 30-50% are caused by a group known as
rhinoviruses. Almost all colds clear up in less than two weeks without complications.
Colds, sometimes called rhinovirus or coronavirus infections, are the most common illness to strike any part of the body. It is estimated that the average person has more than 50 colds during a lifetime. Anyone can get a cold, although pre-school and grade school children catch them more frequently than adolescents and adults. Repeated exposure to viruses causing colds creates partial immunity. The common cold is a mild viral infectious disease of the nose and throat, the upper respiratory system. Its symptoms are sneezing, sniffing, running/blocked nose (often these occur simultaneously, or one in each nostril), scratchy, sore, or phlegmy throat, coughing, headache, and a general feeling of unwellness; they typically last for 3 to 10 days. It is the most common of all diseases.
The common cold belongs to the upper respiratory tract infections. It is different from influenza, a more severe viral infection of the respiratory tract that shows the additional symptoms of rapidly rising fever, chills, and body and muscle aches. Colds are more easily transmitted through contact with the nose and eyes more frequently than through the mouth. People seem very concerned with kissing someone or sharing drinks with someone who has a cold, but they don't really think shaking hands with someone who has a cold is important, and in fact that is very important. The most common means of infection is not from sneezing or coughing, or walking barefoot in the rain, but from hand-to-hand contact. That is why washing your hands frequently when you have a cold is so important. If you are physically exhausted or overtired, also, the chances of you becoming a victim of the cold virus increase.