Overview

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 six 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.

April 09, 2016
References
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  3. Ask Mayo Expert. Upper respiratory tract infection. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  4. Common colds: Protect yourself and others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
  5. Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  6. Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 4, 2016.
  7. Cough and cold medicine: Not for children. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/aap-press-room-media-center/Pages/Cough-and-Cold-Medicine-Not-for-Children.aspx. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
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  10. Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/sore-throats. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.