Basic Summary for Common cold


Main name of condition: Common cold
Other names or spellings: Cold

What is Common cold?
  Brief description of Common cold: Very common viral respiratory infection.
  Parent types of Common cold: Viral diseases, Respiratory conditions, Respiratory infections, Nose conditions, Adolescent conditions, Common Conditions, Upper Respiratory Infection, Diseases contagious from droplets, Diseases contagious from surfaces, Diseases contagious from saliva
  Organs Affected by Common cold: nose, throat, respiratory, lungs, upper respiratory tract
  Types of Common cold: Rhinovirus-related colds, Coronavirus-related colds, Adenovirus-related colds, Coxsackievirus-related colds, Echovirus-related colds, Orthomyxovirus-related colds, Paramyxovirus-related colds, Respiratory syncytial virus-related colds, Enterovirus-related colds
How many people get Common cold?
  Incidence (annual) of Common cold: 62 million cases (NIAID); 23.6 per 100 (NHIS96); estimated 1 billion colds in the USA annually; Children get 6-10 yearly, adults 2-4 yearly; over 60's less than 1 a year.
  Incidence Rate of Common cold: approx 1 in 4 or 22.79% or 62 million people in USA [about data]
  Prevalance of Common cold: In the course of a year, individuals in the United States suffer 1 billion colds, according to some estimates. 1
Who gets Common cold?
  Patient Profile for Common cold: Anyone can get a cold, but children get more.
  Profile for Common cold: Colds are most prevalent among children, and seem to be related to youngsters' relative lack of resistance to infection and to contacts with other children in day-care centers and schools. Children have about six to ten colds a year. In families with children in school, the number of colds per child can be as high as 12 a year. Adults average about two to four colds a year, although the range varies widely. Women, especially those aged 20 to 30 years, have more colds than men, possibly because of their closer contact with children. On average, individuals older than 60 have fewer than one cold a year. 1
How serious is Common cold?
  Prognosis of Common cold: Good. Colds are rarely dangerous to healthy children or adults; some risk to infants, elderly or at-risk groups.
  Complications of Common cold: see complications of Common cold
What causes Common cold?
  Cause of Common cold: More than 200 different viruses cause colds.
  Class of Condition for Common cold: viral
  Causes of Common cold: see causes of Common cold
  Risk factors for Common cold: see risk factors for Common cold
What are the symptoms of Common cold?
  Incubation period for Common cold: 2-3 days
  Incubation period for Common cold: Symptoms of the common cold usually begin two to three days after infection1
  Duration of Common cold: 2-14 days, typically 7 days
  Duration of Common cold: Cold symptoms can last from two to 14 days, but two-thirds of people recover in a week.1
  Seasonality of Common cold: In the United States, most colds occur during the fall and winter. Beginning in late August or early September, the incidence of colds increases slowly for a few weeks and remains high until March or April, when it declines. The seasonal variation may relate to the opening of schools and to cold weather, which prompt people to spend more time indoors and increase the chances that viruses will spread from person to person.1
  Symptoms of Common cold: see symptoms of Common cold
Can anyone else get Common cold?
  More information: see contagiousness of Common cold
How is it treated?
  Treatments for Common cold: see treatments for Common cold
  Prevention of Common cold: see prevention of Common cold
  Research for Common cold: see research for Common cold
Society issues for Common cold
  Costs of Common cold: The economic impact of the common cold is enormous. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates that, in 1996, 62 million cases of the common cold in the United States required medical attention or resulted in restricted activity. In 1996, colds caused 45 million days of restricted activity and 22 million days lost from school, according to NCHS. 1

Cost statistics for Common cold: The following are statistics from various sources about costs and Common cold:

  • Causes 20 million lost school days in USA 1994 (US Government Statistics)
  • Causes 24 million bed days in USA 1994 (US Government Statistics)
  • 68% of sufferers under 5 receive medical attention in USA 1994 (US Government Statistics)

1. excerpt from The Common Cold, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID

Last revision: May 26, 2003

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