What Are the Symptoms and Risk Factors of Common Cold?

The common cold can have a number of symptoms, including stuffy nose, sore throat, congestion, body aches and low-grade fever. Risk factors of common cold include age, weakened immune system, time of year, smoking and exposure.

Symptoms of common cold: stuffy nose, congestion and low-grade fever

Symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus. Signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person, might include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Slight body aches or a mild headache
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Generally feeling unwell (malaise)

The discharge from your nose may become thicker and yellow or green in color as a common cold runs its course. This isn’t an indication of a bacterial infection.

Risk factors of common cold: weakened immune system, exposure and more

These factors can increase your chances of getting a cold:

  • Age. Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, especially if they spend time in child-care settings.
  • Weakened immune system. Having a chronic illness or otherwise weakened immune system increases your risk.
  • Time of year. Both children and adults are more susceptible to colds in fall and winter, but you can get a cold any time.
  • Smoking. You’re more likely to catch a cold and to have more severe colds if you smoke.
  • Exposure. If you’re around many people, such as at school or on an airplane, you’re likely to be exposed to viruses that cause colds.
* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.