The Common Cold
Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of two to three colds a year, and children have even more. In fact, colds are the main reason that kids miss school and adults miss work.
Colds are caused by viruses spread through the air or through close contact. You can get a cold by touching your eyes or nose after you touch surfaces with cold germs on them or by breathing them in. Symptoms usually begin two to three days after infection and can include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, headaches, and body aches. Most people recover within seven to ten days. However, people with weakened immune systems, asthma, or conditions that affect their lungs or breathing passages may develop a more serious illness, such as pneumonia.
There is no cure for the common cold. However, washing your hands and avoiding people with colds will help you stay healthy. If you do get a cold, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Try using cough drops or throat sprays, gargling with warm salt water, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever or cold medicine. Do not give children aspirin to treat colds. Aspirin use in children has been linked to a rare but fatal illness. Do not give cough medicines to children under four.