Cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat. More than 200 different viruses can cause common colds. However, Rhinovirus is the main culprit of this condition. Cold can affect anyone at any time of the year. A runny nose, scratchy throat, and continuous sneezing are some of the common symptoms of a cold. The common cold is said to be the number one reason for children to miss school. According to the CDC, nearly 22 million school leaves are lost annually because of the common cold. Continue reading to know more in detail about the symptoms and stages of the common cold. 

Stages of Common Cold-

A common cold stage lasts about 7 to 10 days and can last for up to 2 weeks. A cold and its symptoms progress through the below-mentioned stages as follows- 

  1. Incubation-This is a stage between infection with cold and appearance of symptoms. Usually, it takes 1-3 days to develop symptoms. But, it is also possible to develop symptoms as 10-12 hours exposure.  
  2. Progression of symptoms– In this stage, cold symptoms peak within one to three days. The symptoms include oat, stuffy and runny nose, discomfort, sneezing, fever, headaches, and body aches. 
  3. Remission– During this stage, your symptoms start to fade, and within 3 to 4 days, it eventually goes away. Your mucus might be in white, yellow, or green which is normal. You do not need any antibiotics. 
  4. Recovery– Some symptoms may be present for 2 weeks. Mostly during this stage, a person may feel normal or close to it.

Symptoms of Cold 

The cold symptoms timeline varies from person to person and can include: 

Nasal Symptoms  Head Symptoms  Whole Body Symptoms 
Congestion  Watery eyes  Chills 
Sinus pressure Sore throat Body aches 
Runny/ stuffy nose Headaches  Fatigue 
Loss of smell or taste  Cough  Difficulty in breathing 
Sneezing  Swollen lymph nodes  Chest discomfort
Watery nasal secretions 
Postnasal drip

How Long Does a Cold Last?

As said earlier, generally cold symptoms last for 3 to 10 days. For adults, the symptoms last for around 7 to 10 days, and for children the symptoms can last up to 2 weeks. Children get colder than adults.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Mostly cold doesn’t require a doctor’s care. It usually goes on by itself. But, if you have a  prolonged high fever or persistent cold for more than 10 days, consider consulting a doctor.

Cold is a contagious disease, so wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.