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Common Cold

Respiratory infections, more commonly referred to as “colds”  are caused by viruses. There are more than 100 different cold viruses that people are frequently exposed to.
 
What are the symptoms of a respiratory infection?
Symptoms of a cold includes: Runny nose, sneezing, chills, cough and tiredness which may last 2-7 days or longer.  Usually people feel better within the first few days although some symptoms continue.  Normally recovery happens on its own with no medical care required.
  
How is a cold spread?
When your hands touch surfaces and then touch your face, you can move cold viruses to your face and become infected. Surfaces are continually contaminated when people cough, sneeze, talk, and touch surfaces. 

How long is a respiratory infection contagious?
Colds are contagious for 24 hours before symptoms start and for 5 days after symptoms start.

How is a respiratory infection treated?
There is no cure for a cold; it will usually clear up on its own. Because colds are viral infections, antibiotics don’t help.  When should you seek antibiotics?  Click here to find out.
 

More to know

  • Cold viruses can live on toys and other objects for several hours
  • Some respiratory viruses can cause serious illnesses, such as croup and bronchiolitis, when they infect infants and toddlers.
  • A child should not attend child care or school until 24 hours without a fever and they feel well enough to participate in normal, daily activities.
  • Teach individuals to cover their cough with a tissue or to cough or sneeze into their sleeve or elbow and then wash their hands afterward.
  • Proper hand hygiene is very important to prevent the spread of infection.