The common cold is an infection that can inflame the nose and throat.
The common cold is caused by a virus. There are over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold.
The common cold is most common in infants and young children. However, people of all ages get colds. They are also more common during autumn. Other things that raise the risk are:
Symptoms of the common cold may be:
The diagnosis is most often based on symptoms. Tests are usually only given if another condition is suspected, such as pneumonia.
A cold often lasts 10 days or longer. There is no cure, but treatments can ease symptoms. Options may be:
The risk of getting a cold may be reduced by:
American Lung Association
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Public Health Agency of Canada
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Colds and flus. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at:http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Accessed March 26, 2021.
Mousa HA. Prevention and treatment of influenza, influenza-like illness, and common cold by herbal, complementary, and natural therapies. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(1):166-174.
Upper respiratory infection (URI) in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/upper-respiratory-infection-uri-in-adults-and-adolescents-18 . Accessed March 26, 2021.
Upper respiratory infection (URI) in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/upper-respiratory-infection-uri-in-children. Accessed March 26, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 3/26/2021