What causes the common cold?

Colds are caused by viruses. Colds are the most common viral infection, and they are the most common reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Each year, people in the United States suffer 1 billion colds.1 Learn more about cold viruses

Why is the common cold so common?

The main reason colds are so common is that there are more than 200 different viruses that can trigger a cold. The viruses that cause colds also spread easily. People who are suffering from colds may spread the virus into the air or onto something they touch every time they sneeze or cough. If you touch a surface that’s carrying a cold virus and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, there is a chance you could become infected. Learn more about the common cold

The easiest and most effective ways to prevent a cold are to wash your hands and stay away from people with colds. Clean hands can stop germs such as the cold virus from spreading from one person to another. Learn more about cold prevention

What are the first signs of a cold?

You may notice the first signs of a cold as little as ten hours after being infected with a cold virus, with full-blown symptoms 2-3 days after infection. Common symptoms that signal a cold are scratchy throat, cough, runny nose, body aches and unexplained tiredness. To shorten a cold, it’s important to take action as soon as you notice the first signs of a cold. Learn more

How long is a cold contagious?

People who have a cold are most contagious for the first 2 to 3 days of a cold. After the first week, colds are usually not contagious.1

  1. MedlinePlus. Common Cold. Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000678.htm. Accessed July 14, 2014.

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