IN THIS ARTICLE
What Are Common Cold Symptoms and Signs?
Patient Comment Read 1 Comment
The most common complaints associated with a cold usually are mild. Cold stages are not well defined and have many names depending on which author you read. For example, stages of a cold can be the incubation period, the early symptomatic period (sore throat or scratchy throat), then quickly followed by several other symptoms listed below, followed by symptom reduction and recovery with symptoms stopping. Not all clinicians agree about cold stages and consider a cold a minor disease that runs its course quickly without formal "stages." The following symptoms usually occur with a cold:
What Specialists Treat a Cold?
Most common colds require no medical treatment, however, primary-care physicians, pediatricians, urgent-care or emergency-medicine doctors often see patients with cold symptoms. Occasionally, allergists and, for pregnant women, obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYN) doctors may be consulted.
What Is the Incubation Period for a Cold?
The incubation period varies for a cold (time from exposure to virus to development of symptoms) and depends on the viral genus and strain but most range from about one to three days; for example, rhinovirus infections can have a very short incubation period of eight to 10 hours.
How Long Is a Cold Contagious?
When symptoms first develop, a person is very contagious, but after about six to seven days of symptoms that gradually decrease, most individuals are no longer contagious. Some colds last about two weeks, and some colds are contagious during the latter part of the incubation period before symptoms develop.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/31/2016
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Must Read Articles Related to Colds
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Colds:
Common Cold - Symptoms
What symptoms did you experience with your cold?
Common Cold - Home Remedy
What home remedy did you use on your colds?
Cold and Flu Resources
- Track Cold and Flu Symptoms Near You
- Should You Call the Doctor for a Fever?
- Can Colds and Allergies Cause Tinnitus?