How Long Does A Cold Really Last?

Blow your nose and read on for the answers

Lauren Cahn Updated: Mar 16, 2020 17:27:19 IST
How Long Does A Cold Really Last?

Common colds are the main reason your kids miss school and you miss work. But what exactly is a cold? The common cold is a result of a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It’s usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Typical symptoms of this condition include a sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches and body ache.

How do colds spread?

Colds are caused by viruses. In fact, as many as 200 viruses cause cold symptoms, with rhinovirus being the most common. According to family physician Dr Megha Tewari, cold viruses spread through the air, bodily fluids and from touching surfaces where virus particles have settled.

How long does a cold last?

Most people fully recover within seven to 10 days. Tewari breaks down the length based on your symptoms.

Sore throat: usually runs its course within the first day or so

Mild headache: usually resolves itself within a few days

Mild body ache: a few days

Low-grade fever: a few days

Fatigue: may linger for a week to 10 days

Nasal congestion: one to two weeks

Coughing: may continue for one to two weeks


What to watch out for

You should see a doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • A temperature of 100°F or higher
  • Symptoms that last more than 10 days or are severe or unusual.
Do You Like This Story?
Other Stories