A common cold is an acute upper respiratory tract infection usually caused by a family of viruses known as rhinoviruses. The infection is usually mild, but often sends people to the doctor thinking they may have the flu or a sinus infection. The symptoms of the common cold are nasal stuffiness and discharge, sneezing, sore throat, and a cough. Colds most often occur during the fall and winter months but can also happen during the spring and summer. A cold usually lasts anywhere from one or two weeks and clears up on its own. Statistics show that the common cold accounts for over 22 million missed school days in the US every year. The adult population averages around two to four colds a year per person, and kids get about six to ten colds every year. This upper respiratory infection is a troublesome virus that causes millions of people to miss school, work, or other important functions every year.
The symptoms of a common cold are consistent with the symptoms of most upper respiratory tract infections. Around 25% of people who have a cold may not show any indicators at all. The symptoms of a common cold include:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy nose
- Low-grade fever
In some cases, symptoms may be similar to the flu and you may feel:
- Achy muscles
- Loss of appetite