Common cold

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The common cold is probably the most common illness in the world. It is characterized by sneezing, a scratchy throat, a stuffy nose, and coughing. In the course of a year, people in the United States suffer 1 billion colds.

A cold is typically acquired by touching one's eyes or nose after touching surfaces with cold germs on them, or by inhaling the germs. Symptoms usually begin 2 or 3 days after infection and last 2 to 14 days. Colds can be avoided by frequent handwashing and by staying away from infected individuals.

There is currently no cure for the common cold.[1] This is because it is caused by a virus that, due to mutations, constantly changes its genetic base sequence, making it hard to find a cure for all the variations of the common cold.

Is it caused by cold weather?

  • Going out into the cold weather has no effect on the spread of a cold. The reason that there appears to be a relationship is that people spend more time indoors during the cold winter weather. In fact, however, it is the proximity to other people rather than the temperature outside that seems to be the culprit. For this same reason, children in daycare or kindergarten are particularly prone to having colds. [1]