- News Releases
The common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract). It's usually harmless, although it might not feel that way. Children younger than six are at greatest risk of colds, but healthy adults can also expect to have two or three colds annually.
Most people recover from a common cold in a week or 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. If symptoms don't improve, see your doctor. Read about symptoms.
There's no cure for the common cold, but you don't need to feel miserable while you're toughing it out. Drink plenty of fluids. Try chicken soup. Rest as much as you can. Use saline nasal spray to relieve stuffiness. Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat. Turn on a humidifier. To prevent spreading your cold to others, wash your hands often.
To make yourself as comfortable as possible when you have a cold, try:
There's no vaccine for the common cold, but you can take common-sense precautions to slow the spread of cold viruses:
The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow, A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention.