Cold / Cough

Alternative names:

common cold; pharyngitis, viral; upper respiratory infection - viral; viral URI


A contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes, sneezing, sore throat, and coughing.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Colds are caused by over 200 different viruses, known as rhinoviruses. Colds are not caused by the same viruses responsible for influenza. Colds spread through droplets from the coughing or sneezing of others with a cold or by hand contact with objects contaminated by someone with a cold. The incidence of colds is highest among children, and the incidence decreases with age because immunity to the virus causing the cold occurs after the illness. Gradually, immunity to a wide variety of viruses that cause colds is developed in adults. Children may have 10 colds a year, and adults may have 3 colds a year. 



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