The common cold is a viral infectious disease that infects the upper respiratory system. It is also known as acute viral rhinopharyngitis, or acute coryza. Being the most common infectious disease in humans, the cold is mainly caused by coronaviruses or rhinoviruses.
The human body can never build up resistance to all the viruses that can cause the common cold. It is for this reason that colds are so common and recurring. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) kindergarten children get an average of 12 colds per year, compared to adolescents and adults who catch about seven per year.
Experts say that going out when it is cold does not have any effect on the risk of catching a cold or spreading one. In addition, antibiotics do not cure a cold or speed up recovery.
Here are some key points about colds. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
Common cold symptoms include dry throat, blocked nose and sneezing. Around a quarter of people do not experience symptoms when infected with a cold. More than 200 viruses can cause a common cold. Up to half of common colds are caused by a type of virus referred to as rhinoviruses. Complications of the common cold include acute bronchitis and pneumonia. People with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more than vulnerable to colds than other people. Common colds typically last for up to 10 days. Common colds share many symptoms with flu.