The common cold (viral upperrespiratory tract infection , acuteviral rhinopharyngitis, acutecoryza, or cold) is a contagious,viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by rhinovirusesand coronaviruses. Common symptoms include a sore throat,runny nose, and fever.There is no cure, however symptoms usually resolves spontaneously in 7 to 10days, with some symptoms possibly lasting for up to three weeks.
The common cold is the most frequent infectious disease in humans with onaverage two to four infections a year in adults and up to 6 - 12 in children.Collectively, colds, influenza, and other infections with similar symptoms areincluded in the diagnosis of influenza-like illness. They may also betermed upper respiratory tract infections(URTI). Influenza involves the lungs while the common cold does not.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms are cough,sorethroat, runnynose, and nasal congestion; sometimes this may beaccompanied by conjunctivitis ( pink eye ), muscle aches, fatigue,headaches, shivering,and loss of appetite. Fever is oftenpresent thus creating a symptom picture which overlaps with influenza.The symptoms of influenza however are usually more severe. The common coldusually resolves spontaneously in 7 to 10 days, but some symptoms can last forup to three weeks. In children the cough lasts for more than 10 days in 35-40%and continues for more than 25 days in 10%.
Those suffering from colds often report a sensation of chilliness eventhough the cold is not generally accompanied by fever, and although chillsare generally associated with fever, the sensation may not always be caused byactual fever. In one study, 60% of those suffering from a sore throat and upperrespiratory tract infection reported headaches, often due to nasalcongestion.
The viral replication begins 8 to 12 hours after initial contact. Symptomsusually begin 2 to 5 days after initial infection but occasionally occur in aslittle as 10 hours. Symptoms peak 2–3 days after symptom onset, whereasinfluenza symptom onset is constant and immediate.The symptoms usually resolve spontaneously in 7 to 10 days but some can lastfor up to three weeks.