Sometimes it’s hard to know if you have a cold or if you have the flu. Many of the symptoms are the same … but some are not. Both cold and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria … which means that you can’t treat them with antibiotics.
Common Cold At-A-Glance
For the most part, the common cold affects the upper respiratory system – so most of the symptoms involve the eyes, nose and throat.
Caused by: A variety of different rhinoviruses (there are over 100). Although rhinoviruses are the major cause of colds, they can also be caused by other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Para influenza virus, adenovirus and coronavirus.
Spread by: Touching contaminated surfaces or other people’s hands, then touching your eyes and nose.
Symptoms appear between 12 hours and 5 days of exposure – but most often within 48 hours.
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Low fever or chills (occasionally)
- Some tiredness or muscle aches
Lasts for: 2 to 7 days
Sometimes leads to: sinusitis (sinus infection) or ear infection