ABC Medical Center > Common cold

What is Common cold?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a generally innocuous disease of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat), caused by a viral infection that is transmitted through the fluids emitted when speaking, sneezing, or coughing, which enter the body orally, nasally, or ocularly, or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects.

Numerous viruses cause a cold, but the most frequent are the rhinoviruses, producing a condition that lasts between one and two weeks and usually heals without major complications.

But when a cold lasts longer than that or the symptoms intensify, it is necessary to see a doctor to avoid adverse situations.

Signs and symptoms Common cold

The characteristic symptoms of the cold appear two or three days after infection, the most common being:

  • Muscle pain.
  • Sneezing.
  • Mild fever.
  • General discomfort.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Abundant mucus.
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing fits.
  • Headache.

The mucus begins as transparent or light in color, to become more viscous, acquiring yellow or greenish tones.

Potential risks:

  • Being an active or passive smoker.
  • Go to crowded places.
  • Childhood: colds are more common in infants and children.
  • Depressed immune system.
  • Being in the winter season: it is the time when more infections are registered due to low temperatures.

Possible complications of the cold are:

  • Otitis media.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Sinusitis.
  • Secondary infections.

Diagnosis and treatment Common cold

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination that will help determine if it is a common cold, although if there are signs of a bacterial infection or an underlying disease, they will request additional tests such as X-rays, blood tests, and pharyngeal exudate.

As it is a viral condition, there is no specific treatment for the cold, so the aim is to control the symptoms and avoid complications.

It is recommended to rest, hydrate properly, do not expose yourself to sudden changes in temperature, use air humidifiers, and stay warm.

As for medications, they will prescribe:

  • Painkillers.
  • Anti-inflammatories.
  • Nasal decongestants.
  • Cough syrup.
  • Antibiotics: in case of any secondary bacterial infection.

At the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, of chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • cun.es
  • topdoctors.es
  • medigraphic.com
  • Montijo-Barrios E, Cadena F, Ramírez-Mayans JA, et al. Ensayo clínico sobre el efecto de la bufenina, aminofenazona y el clorhidrato de difenilpiralina en el tratamiento del resfriado común en niños de seis a 24 meses de edad. Rev Invest Clin. 2011;63(4):335-343.
  • Román CM, Alva CA, Pinzón NA, et al. Papel inmunomodulador y antioxidante del zinc y el selenio en el tratamiento coadyuvante de infecciones respiratorias. Rev Educ Bioquimica. 2016;35(1):3-10.
  • Gonzales R, López-Caudana AE, González-Flores T, et al. Conocimiento y automedicación de antibióticos para infecciones respiratorias en México. Salud Pública Mex. 2012;54(2):152-157.
  • Diemond HJB. Metaanálisis sobre el uso de vitamina C para prevenir y tratar el resfriado común. Rev Enfer Infec Pediatr. 2008;21.22(83):66-67.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.