A cold is a contagious upper respiratory infection that affects your nose, throat, sinuses and trachea windpipe. More than different viruses can cause a cold, but most colds are caused by a rhinovirus. As its name implies, the common cold is widespread. Adults catch two to three colds a year, while young children come down with a cold four or more times a year. Colds spread from person to person. For you to become infected, the virus has to get to one of your mucous membranes — the moist lining of the nostrils, eyes or mouth.
The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat upper respiratory tract. It's usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Many types of viruses can cause a common cold. Children younger than 6 are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually. Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. If symptoms don't improve, see your doctor.
Your nose is stuffy, your throat is scratchy, and your head is pounding. Is it a cold or the seasonal flu? Here are some basic guidelines for telling the difference between cold and flu symptoms, and what to do if you have either one of these infections.
The common cold and the flu may seem very similar at first. They are indeed both respiratory illnesses and can cause similar symptoms. However, different viruses cause these two conditions, and your symptoms will gradually help you differentiate between the two. Both a cold and the flu share a few common symptoms.