Common Cold: General Information

Synonyms and Related Terms

Synonyms of common cold:


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Back to: « Common Cold


Category of common cold:

  • upper respiratory tract disease


Category of common cold:



Categories for Common Cold may include:4 Category of Common Cold:

Prevalence of Common Cold

Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.

Source: CDC Features5

Contagiousness of Common Cold

When youíre sick, each cough or sneeze can propel droplets laden with microbes into the surrounding air. These droplets can travel as far as 3 feet. Anyone in their path may be at risk for infection. Thatís why covering your mouth and noseówith a tissue, the crook of your elbow or even your handóis the considerate thing to do.

Microbes can survive outside the body, too. Some can live for 2 hours or more on doorknobs, faucets, keyboards and other surfaces. If you touch a germ-covered surface and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, you increase your chance of getting infected and getting sick.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)6

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How colds are spread

There are over 200 different viruses that can cause colds. These viruses spread through the air when someone with a cold sneezes or coughs.

You may also catch a cold by handling objects that were touched by someone with a cold.

Source: New Zealand Health7

Seasonality of Common Cold

Most everyone looks forward to summerótime to get away, get outside and have some fun. So what could be more unfair than catching a cold when itís warm? How can cold symptoms arise when itís not cold and flu season? Is there any way to dodge the summertime sniffles?

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)8

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Each year, from late fall through winter, the number of cold and flu cases in the U.S. climbs dramatically.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)9

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Colds due to rhinovirus also peak each fall when children return to school.

Source: NIAID (NIH)10

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Most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it is possible to get a cold any time of the year.

Source: CDC Features11

Incubation Period of Common Cold

You usually start having cold symptoms 1-3 days after contact with a cold virus.

Source: New Zealand Health12

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  1. Source: Disease Ontology
  2. ibid.
  3. Source: Monarch Initiative
  4. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  5. Source: CDC Features: features/ rhinoviruses/ 
  6. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): 2007/ October/ docs/ 01features_02.htm
  7. Source: New Zealand Health: your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ colds
  8. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): issue/ jun2012/ feature2
  9. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): 2007/ October/ docs/ 01features_02.htm
  10. Source: NIAID (NIH): diseases-conditions/ co-infections-linked-child-asthma-and-cold-symptoms
  11. Source: CDC Features: features/ rhinoviruses/ 
  12. Source: New Zealand Health: your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ colds

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