Common Cold Symptoms – How To Know If You’re Infected

Common cold refers to the viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, including nasopharyngitis and rhinopharyngitis. Common cold symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, headache, fatigue, and fever. The infection generally resolves in around 7 to 10 days.

common cold symptoms

Among the many common cold symptoms, a runny nose is usually one of the first visible signs.

Common Cold Symptoms And What Triggers Them

The common cold virus causes one of the most commonly encountered infections in humans. Children are affected at least 5 to 7 times a year, and adults, 2 to 3 times a year. The infection can spread widely among children through schools and day care centers. Parents often acquire the infection from their children.

Although you could get a cold at any time of the year, you are more susceptible to the infection during winter and monsoon. When you have caught a cold, you are contagious during the first week, especially the first three days.

Of all the viruses that cause the common cold, the Rhinovirus is the most common. Common cold symptoms vary with the kind of virus that causes the infection, and they can also vary from individual to individual. Even today, 25% of all colds are backed by unproven causes.

Common Cold Symptoms To Watch Out For

The most common symptoms of this infection include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Tears in the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Swollen sinuses
  • Mild to high fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired senses of smell and taste

When you catch a cold, you are likely to experience a sore throat for the first couple of days. By the third day, symptoms like runny nose and nasal congestion start manifesting. By the fifth day, you might develop a cough, and occasionally you might develop mild to high fever, although this is more common in children than adults.

As the days progress, the watery nasal secretions become thicker and darker, resembling a bacterial infection. Generally, common colds last for a week. If your condition does not improve after a week’s time, it could indicate a bacterial infection that needs treatment with antibiotics. Consult a doctor immediately in such cases.

How To Diagnose The Common Cold Infection

The common cold is generally defined as a nasal inflammation, and may be associated with the inflammation of the throat. You can usually diagnose the condition yourself. However, you can get some tests done to rule out the possibility of other infections that have symptoms similar to that of the common cold.

What Does The Physician Test?

When you consult a physician for a common cold, he will:

  • Consider your health history
  • Perform a physical examination, often getting the diagnosis right based solely on the visible symptoms
  • If required, perform throat culture and a sensitivity test, an influenza test, a test for the complete blood count, and a chest X-ray

The common cold usually lasts for a week. As common cold symptoms are ambiguous, they may overlap with those of more severe illnesses. The infection also depends upon the age of the person experiencing the symptoms. If the infection lasts for more than a week, consult a physician at the earliest to receive a common cold treatment.


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