The common cold is an infection that can irritate your nose and throat.
|Sore Throat Due to Inflammation|
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The common cold is caused by a virus. There are over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold.
Factors that may increase your chance of a cold include:
- Being near someone who has a cold
- Touching your nose, mouth, or eyes with contaminated fingers
- Decreased resistance, which can be caused by smoking , second-hand smoke, or stress
- Allergies or asthma
- Shorter sleep duration or poor sleep quality
A cold may cause:
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Itchy, stuffed sensation in the ears
- Watery eyes
- Aches and pains
- Low energy
The diagnosis is most often based on your symptoms. Generally, tests are not needed to make a diagnosis unless another condition is suspected, such as pneumonia .
A cold usually lasts 10 days or longer. There are no cures for a cold, but treatments can ease symptoms. These include:
The most important way to keep from getting or spreading a cold is by washing your hands. Wash your hands well and often. Other ways to keep from getting a cold:
- Keep your hands away from your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Stay away from people who have a cold.
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit or cut down on smoking.
- Ask your doctor if taking certain supplements may be right for you.