Common cold

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The common cold is a "catarrhal[1] disorder of the upper respiratory tract, which may be viral, a mixed infection, or an allergic reaction. It is marked by acute coryza,[2] slight rise in temperature, chilly sensations, and general indisposition."[3]


"Rhinoviruses are frequently transmitted from children to other family members. Most rhinovirus infections in young children are symptomatic, but secondary infections in adults are often asymptomatic. Multiple virus types circulate simultaneously in families."[4]


The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved xTAG™ Respiratory Viral Panel (RVP) for detects the viruses:[5]


Naproxen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, may[6] or may not[7] reduce "symptoms of headache, malaise, myalgia, and cough".

Saline irrigation of the nose may help.[8]

"Zinc administered within 24 hours of onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people" according to the Cochrane Collaboration.[9] Typical dose is 12.8 mg of zinc acetate[10] or 13.3 mg of zinc from zinc gluconate[11] every 2-3 hours while awake. Zinc may cause nausea or abnormal taste.[11].

Regarding over-the-counter (OTC) medications, "there is no good evidence for or against the effectiveness of OTC medicines in acute cough" according to a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration.[12]

"P. sidoides may be effective in alleviating symptoms of acute rhinosinusitis and the common cold in adults, but doubt exists," according to a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration.[13]


A patent was granted for a vaccine in 1936.[14] The proposed vaccine was oral and its target was pneumococcal antigens.


  1. Inflammation of the nose and throat with increased production of mucus.
  2. inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the nose (usually associated with nasal discharge).
  3. Anonymous (2023), Common cold (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  4. Peltola V, Waris M, Osterback R, Susi P, Ruuskanen O, Hyypiä T (2008). "Rhinovirus transmission within families with children: incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic infections.". J Infect Dis 197 (3): 382-9. DOI:10.1086/525542. PMID 18248302. Research Blogging.
  5. Anonymous (2008). New Device Approval - xTAG™ Respiratory Viral Panel (RVP) - K063765. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
  6. Sperber SJ, Hendley JO, Hayden FG, Riker DK, Sorrentino JV, Gwaltney JM (1992). "Effects of naproxen on experimental rhinovirus colds. A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial". Ann. Intern. Med. 117 (1): 37-41. PMID 1317694[e]
  7. Kim SY, Chang YJ, Cho HM, Hwang YW, Moon YS. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8;(3):CD006362. PMID 19588387
  8. Kassel JC, King D, Spurling GK (2010). "Saline nasal irrigation for acute upper respiratory tract infections.". Cochrane Database Syst Rev 3: CD006821. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD006821.pub2. PMID 20238351. Research Blogging.
  9. Singh M, Das RR (2011). "Zinc for the common cold.". Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2: CD001364. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3. PMID 21328251. Research Blogging.
  10. Prasad AS, Fitzgerald JT, Bao B, Beck FW, Chandrasekar PH (2000). "Duration of symptoms and plasma cytokine levels in patients with the common cold treated with zinc acetate. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.". Ann Intern Med 133 (4): 245-52. PMID 10929163[e]
  11. 11.0 11.1 Mossad SB, Macknin ML, Medendorp SV, Mason P (1996). "Zinc gluconate lozenges for treating the common cold. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.". Ann Intern Med 125 (2): 81-8. PMID 8678384[e]
  12. Smith SM, Schroeder K, Fahey T (2008). "Over-the-counter medications for acute cough in children and adults in ambulatory settings". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (1): CD001831. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD001831.pub3. PMID 18253996. Research Blogging.
  13. Timmer A, Günther J, Rücker G, Motschall E, Antes G, Kern WV (2008). "Pelargonium sidoides extract for acute respiratory tract infections". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD006323. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD006323.pub2. PMID 18646148. Research Blogging.
  14. Powell, Horace. (1936) Common Cold Antigen. Google Patents.