Common Cold

Here's how to tell the difference between the flu and common cold, and when to seek urgent care assistance in the face of severe, persistent common cold symptoms.


From a runny nose to non-stop sneezing, you can't miss the symptoms of a common cold. However, there is a lot more information about the common cold that you should be aware of. Here we break down all the information about this all-too-common disease.

What Is Common Cold?

The common cold is an illness caused by a virus. In fact, more than 200 types of viruses can lead to this misery. The most common pathogen is the rhinovirus which causes around 50 percent of colds. Other viruses responsible for colds include respiratory syncytial virus, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and influenza.

The common cold is also one of the major diseases that causes a lot of people to stay at home. According to the CDC, common colds lead to the loss of nearly 22 million school days every year. In the U.S. it is estimated that Americans suffer from 1 billion colds every year.

Cold viruses can enter your body through your nose, eyes, or mouth. The common cold, as many are aware, is a contagious disease. Thus, the viruses spread through droplets in the air when a patient talks, coughs, or sneezes. Colds can also spread through contact from sharing contaminated objects such as toys, utensils, or mobile phones.


The symptoms of a common cold may take a few days to surface. Generally, symptoms appear one to three days after exposure to the virus. The signs and symptoms vary from person to person, and include:

• Runny/ stuffy nose

• Cough

• Slight body aches

• Mild Headache

• Low-grade fever

• Sore throat

• Congestion

• Sneezing

• Malaise

• Watery eyes

• Loss of smell or taste

• Swollen lymph nodes

• Chest discomfort

If you are experiencing more severe symptoms such as muscle aches and a high fever, you may have the flu.


In the case of most adults, the common cold is treated with over-the-counter medicine or through home remedies. Antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers are commonly used to treat cold symptoms.

Popular home remedies include gargling with salt water, staying hydrated, rest and consuming herbs like Echinacea. These remedies won't cure a cold but may lessen the intensity of the symptoms.

In the case of children, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends speaking with a doctor before administering over-the-counter medicines.

The common cold affects your upper respiratory tract. As antibiotics can't treat viruses, the common cold will subside once it runs its course. Nonetheless, you can treat the symptoms and lessen your misery.

Typically, a common cold can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days. If you find your symptoms do not disappear after 10 days, it is important that you consult your doctor.


Colds are minor illnesses, but they can be inconvenient for many. There is no vaccine to prevent the common cold. However, these preventive measures may help you from catching a cold:

• Wash your hands frequently throughout the day.

• Eat plenty of bacteria-rich food like yogurt.

• Cover your cough.

• Avoid interacting with sick people.

If you need care for the common cold visit BASS Primary Care in Walnut Creek today. Call us or book an appointment via our website.

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.