Individuals become sick with the common cold when they are infected with a virus, which is most often the rhinovirus. Additional cold viruses include the respiratory syncytial virus and the parainfluenza virus. These viruses are contagious and individuals will become infected when they come into contact with a surface that contains germs from an infected person. The germs can also infect a person as they travel through the air as the result of a cough or sneeze.
Individuals will notice the symptoms of a common cold in about three days after the cold virus enters their system. The symptoms usually disappear in about a week to ten days, but it is not uncommon to have cold symptoms for as long as two weeks.
Ordinary cold symptoms include mucous drainage from the nose, sneezing, sore throat, body aches and nasal congestion. Sometimes a person’s lymph nodes around their ears and neck will also swell when they have a cold. Coughing is also a frequent cold symptom and if a person begins coughing up blood or foul-smelling green mucous they should visit a medical professional.
A cold will have to run its course, but there are home treatments that can make individuals feel better and lessen their cold symptoms.
Lots of rest, as much as 12 hours of sleep every night, will help a person who has a common cold. Staying hydrated by drinking water is also important for people who have a cold. Taking drugstore medications, such as a decongestant, will help to alleviate a stuffy nose and a pain reliever can aid in relieving an achy body. Individuals who have a sore throat can often minimize the pain when they gargle with a warm water and salt mixture.