A cold is a viral infection of the nose and mouth.

Adults get 3-4 colds per year.

Colds usually last 7-14 days.

Normal Cold Symptoms

  • Nasal discharge and congestion up to 2 weeks (thick yellow, green nasal discharge is normal phase of the common cold)
  • Sinus congestion (pressure in face common first 4-5 days of cold)
  • Ear congestion
  • Hoarseness
  • Fever up to 3 days
  • Sore throat up to 5 days (with other cold symptoms)
  • Cough up to 3 weeks (cough usually starts 4-5 days into cold)

When should I see a doctor?

  • Earache, ear discharge
  • Fever (>100.5) present more than 3 days
  • Fever > 101
  • Sore throat present over 5 days
  • White patches on throat or tonsils
  • Nasal discharge present over 2 weeks
  • Cough present over 3 weeks
  • Sinus pain not relieved by nasal washes