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.