Table of Contents
The three most frequent symptoms of a cold are:
- Nasal stuffiness (a stuffed nose)
- A runny nose
- Throat irritation 
Adults and older children with colds generally have minimal or no fever at all. Infants with a common cold often run a fever in the 100-102 degrees range (38-39 Celsius).
Once you have caught a common cold, the symptoms usually begin in 1 to 5 days. Typically, irritation in the nose or a scratchy feeling in the throat is the first sign, followed within the hour by sneezing and a watery nasal discharge. Within one to three days, the nasal secretions usually become thicker and yellow or green in most cases. This is a normal part of the common cold and not a reason for antibiotics, as some people might think. During this period, a child’s eardrums are usually congested and there may be fluid behind the ears, regardless of whether or not the child will end up with a true bacterial infection. Depending on which virus is the culprit, the virus might also produce a headache, cough, postnasal drip, burning eyes, muscle aches, or a decreased appetite. Still, if it is indeed a cold, the most prominent symptoms will happen in the nose.
By the way, forcing a child to eat when he or she has a decreased appetite due to a cold is both unnecessary and unhelpful. However, you should encourage them to drink plenty. For children with asthma, colds are the most common trigger of asthma symptoms, and they are the most common precursor of ear infections as well.
Is the Common Cold Contagious?
When someone has a cold, the nasal secretions are teeming with viruses that primarily caused the cold.
Coughing, drooling, and talking are all less likely ways to pass a cold to another person. Sneezing, nose blowing, and nose wiping are the means by which the virus spreads from an infected person to a new person.
You can catch a cold by inhaling the virus if you are sitting close to someone who’s sneezing. You could also get infected by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after you’ve touched something contaminated by infected nasal secretions.