The common cold is primarily caused by a virus. Viruses exist in hundreds of forms; however, most cause similar cold symptoms. Due to the ability of viruses to evolve at a rapid rate, they are constantly changing. This tricks our immune system and doesn’t allow us to build up resistance to all forms of viruses. This is why colds are so common and often return!
Viruses that cause the common cold are contagious. They can be spread by air droplets from and infected individual by coughing and sneezing. It is also spread by contact, such as touching a surface that has been infected (examples include: doorknobs, countertops, drinkware). Viruses are contagious from 1–2 days before symptoms begin until the symptoms have stopped.
The symptoms of the common cold are the body’s reaction to a cold virus. The virus triggers the immune response to release certain chemicals in the body resulting in increased mucous production.
The most common symptoms of a cold are:
- dry throat
- sore throat
- mild fever
- hoarse voice
- nasal congestion
- mild headache
Rarer symptoms of a cold include:
- muscle aches
- pink eye
- reduction in appetite
- extreme exhaustion
Some people do not suffer any symptoms when infected with a cold virus, perhaps because their immune system reacts differently to the virus. Occasionally a common cold can be complicated by a secondary infection by bacteria causing additional issues such as ear infections or sinus infections.
Urgent Care Omaha & Bellevue, NE
To determine whether your symptoms are from a cold or from the flu, you need stop in at any of our locations in the metro area. Our three clinics are:
Our staff is here every day of the week to assist with your urgent care needs. No one can anticipate when an urgent care will be needed, so it’s good to know where they are in your area.
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