The common cold is a self-limited, contagious viral infection that can be spread either by direct contact with infected surfaces or by inhaling the airborne virus. The infection can occur one to three days after the initial exposure. Often times a healthy person will make direct contact with secretions after a nonhealthy person has blown their nose, coughed or sneezed and touched an object of which then a healthy person touches the object and the cold virus is deposited into the front of the nasal passages by contaminated fingers or by the droplets from the coughs or sneezes. The virus is moved to the back of the nose and onto the adenoid area by the nose itself. A cold normally affects your nose and throat and is often characterized as an upper respiratory infection.
The most common virus causing the common cold is known as rhinovirus which causes approximately 1/3 of the adult colds. Other common viruses could include coronavirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus, however there are actually over 200 types of viruses linked to the common cold. Due to the extreme number of viruses linked to the common cold it is impossible to build up immunity. Of all the illness's in the world resulting in missed time at school and work the common cold is the one.
Symptoms are commonly the same for adult and children and typically lasts four days to two weeks.
Signs and symptoms of the common cold may include:
- Body Aches
- Sneezing and/or watery eyes
- Sore throat