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How Long Does a Cold Last?

How Long Does a Cold Last?


A cold lasts for about a week but may have lighter lingering symptoms for an additional seven days.

(National Institute of Health)

More Info: The most common symptoms of the common cold are runny noses, sneezing, and nasal congestion.  Colds are viruses and as such are all slightly different.  Cold symptoms may also include headaches, postnasal drip, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and decreased appetite.

What Are the Primary Symptoms of a Cold? 

The primary symptoms of a cold are related to the nose and include irritation, discharge, and postnasal drip.  Thickened discharged, even if it is green or yellow is a normal cold symptom and is not a cause to take antibiotics.  If colored discharge lasts for more than 10 to 14 days, then it may be a sinus infection.

If your cold symptoms do not begin to progressively improve after seven days, you may be dealing with a bacterial infection or an allergy, which will require a visit to the doctor.  If your infection is bacterial, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

How Is the Cold Virus Spread? 

You can catch a cold by direct contact through the infected nasal secretions of another person such as sneezing or coughing.  You can also become infected by touching something that has been touched by an infected person and then touching your eyes nose or mouth.



“Common cold: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

“Flu or Cold? Or Swine Flu? Know the Differences.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.


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