Rhinopharyngitis (the common cold) is spread either by miniscule droplets suspended in the air, through contact with a contaminated object (door handles, tissues, etc.) or by direct contact: saliva, hands, etc.(4)
Symptoms appear one to three days after exposure to the virus.(4) The first symptoms affect the general health of a sufferer, who may experience slight fatigue or chills. These are followed by sneezing, nasal obstruction (blocked nose) and rhinorrhoea (runny nose). The runny fluid is translucent at first and gradually becomes thicker after a few days. A cough may occur, especially in children. There is usually little or no fever.(2)
Other symptoms such as headaches or ear discomfort (blocked or sore ears) may be experienced.
Rhinopharyngitis symptoms can vary in length and intensity depending on the person. It can thus develop over a variable period, from 5 to 20 days, but usually heals spontaneously in 7 to 10 days, without any medication. (2)
Whilst common cold symptoms are not serious, they can still be a nuisance and cause discomfort in our daily lives.