Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they say that the common cold is a problem for millions of people across the United States each year, with adults suffering from up to three colds each year and kids suffering significantly more often. In general, getting the common cold is inevitable (particularly in the winter and spring seasons).

The positive aspect is that with regard to the spread of viral diseases the typical cold isn’t a big deal (at least when compared to other viruses such as COVID-19 and the flu). Based on the CDC the majority of people recover from colds in 7-10 days, however, those who have weak immune systems or other respiratory conditions have a higher chance to contract serious illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis.

While it’s impossible to guarantee you’ll not contract a cold even washing your hands thoroughly and staying clear of contact with sick people, you can equip yourself with information about the disease’s ins as well as outs to be prepared in case it strikes. Doctors outline the typical cold timeline below, from the moment of infection symptoms onset, and the point when you’ll likely begin feeling better.

How long will it take for symptoms of a cold to show up?

In the words of Sterling Ransone, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians The common cold is transmitted via contact with another person in which droplets of infectious respiratory disease from one person are transferred to the next. However, you’ll not become sick immediately because the virus takes time to multiply within your body. This is called incubation time. In simple terms, the duration of incubation for an infection is the period between the moment you’re first exposed to the virus and when you start to feel symptoms.

The typical time for cold viruses is up to 24 to 72 hours for incubation in the words of Matthew Goldman, MD, an expert in family health in the Cleveland Clinic. However according to the doctor. Goldman points out, this is only an estimate, since cold-related symptoms may manifest within 10 to 12 hours following exposure. On the contrary, according to MedlinePlus, the US National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus) the symptoms of cold could last for up to one week to manifest. The bottom line is: It is all dependent on the person and the specific cold virus they’ve been exposed to.

What are the symptoms and signs of a cold? And what do they look like?

Based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the common cold typically starts with an irritated throat. As per the Merck Manual, sneezing, rhinorrhea (runny nose) nose obstruction (stuffiness), and an overall feeling of sickness follow.

Adults who have a cold do not experience a temperature, or suffer from a mild fever, as per MedlinePlus. Children however could develop a temperature that can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are so many distinct kinds of viruses, colds may be suffering from other symptoms, such as nausea, cough headache, muscular discomforts, or postnasal drip, as per MedlinePlus.

How long can an illness last? And how long can you stay infected?

If you’re healthy overall and fit, you’ll likely get an illness for a few days. Colds typically disappear in 10 days, as per the Merck Manual. Some people, like those who have compromised immune systems or health problems, might experience symptoms of colds for longer. “Illness can last for months for some people and smokers in particular,” adds Dr. Goldman.

Although 10 days can seem like a long period according to Dr. Goldman, the worst of colds typically occur right away after the first signs. “In most cases, the symptoms tend to be more severe at first, but get better as the immune system builds immunity,” he explains. The symptoms associated with colds can change throughout the course of this time especially your nasal symptoms, which could change from a clear thin liquid to a darker, thicker liquid according to the Merck Manual.

Your cough is one of the symptoms that can linger long when the other symptoms have gone. In the words of the doctor Dr. Goldman, “a chronic cough is usually the sign the majority of people experience for a period of time ranging from weeks to months.”

Regarding contagiousness, If you’re suffering from common colds chances are you’ll transmit to someone else within two or three days following the onset of illness According to MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus, which states that the majority of people aren’t infectious after one week. If you’re still suffering from an underlying cough there’s a chance that you’ll transmit the illness. The doctor. Ransone believes that if you cough, it’s because you’re spreading respiratory droplets.

When should you visit the doctor when you’ve got an illness?

A common cold can be usually harmless, but it can cause several similar symptoms of cold and COVID-19. This means that if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and begin to develop symptoms shortly afterward you must be checked for the virus SARS-CoV-2 to make sure that you don’t get sick and transmit the virus to other people.

Although the immune systems of many are able to fight off colds swiftly and effectively, some issues may persist. According to MedlinePlus the initial stage to treat a cold is to treat this at home, and that means taking a good amount of rest.

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