common cold

Micrograph of a rhinovirus

The common cold can be caused by any of about 200 different viruses, including rhinoviruses (shown in the micrograph above). These are easily transmitted in tiny airborne droplets.

The common cold, also called coryza, is a mild illness of the nose and throat caused by various types of virus. General malaise and rhinitis, initially watery but later thick and tenacious, are characteristic; sneezing, cough, sore throat, and headache are also common, but significant fever is unusual. Secondary bacterial infection of ears, sinuses, pharynx, or lungs may occur, especially in predisposed people. Spread is from person to person. Mild symptomatic relief only is needed.