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Decoding the common cold

Cold symptoms include:girl with a cold

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Mild headache and/or body aches
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Watery eyes

About the common cold

  • Adults have 2-3 colds per year on average
  • Children may get up to 8 colds (or more) per year
  • 200+ different viruses cause common cold symptoms
  • 100 miles per hour — the speed at which a sneeze travels out of your nose
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water to prevent the spread of viruses that cause colds

Fact: Antibiotics do not work against cold viruses

How to treat a cold

  • Get rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Breathe in warm steam
  • Gargle with salt water
  • Use a saline nasal spray
  • Take over-the-counter medicines as directed

When to see a doctor

  • Persistent fever
  • Symptoms last more than 10 days
  • Symptoms are severe or unusual

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and KidsHealth.org®