Common cold

Also Known As: Common cold, cold, nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, acute coryza, a cold

The common cold (also known as nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, acute coryza, or a cold) is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system which affects primarily the nose. Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever which usually resolve in seven to ten days, with some symptoms lasting up to three weeks. Well over 200 viruses are implicated in the cause of the common cold; the rhinoviruses are the most common.

Upper respiratory tract infections are loosely divided by the areas they affect, with the common cold primarily affecting the nose, pharyngitis the throat, and sinusitis the sinuses. Symptoms are mostly due to the body's immune response to the infection rather than to tissue destruction by the viruses themselves. The primary method of prevention is by hand washing with some evidence to support the effectiveness of wearing face masks.

There is no cure for the common cold but the symptoms can be treated. It is the most frequent infectious disease in humans with the average adult contracting two to three colds a year and the average child contracting between six and twelve. These infections have been with humanity since antiquity.

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