How long does a cold normally last?
A soar throat, stuffy nose, headache kind of cold.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
There are many types of virus that can cause a cold, so no cold is identical to another. In addition, our ability to fight a cold varies from person to person and time to time. So colds can last for anything between a couple of days to well over a week of sore throat, fever, blocked nose and other miserable symptoms.
But as a rough guide, colds have usually run the worst of their course within a week, and you should certainly be well on the way to recovery by ten days.
Time to think again
Sometimes minor problems such as nasal stuffiness can last longer, and another frequently protracted symptom is tiredness, especially if the cold was a particularly bad one or if you're stressed or weren't very fit beforehand.
However, by now you shouldn't be feeling feverish and it really is time to think again and see your doctor to check that you haven't got some other problem that has developed as a complication of your cold or quite coincidentally.
Complications include bacterial infection
Colds are caused by a virus but they can make the body vulnerable to a second infection with a bacteria. These secondary bacterial infections can be very serious (even occasionally fatal although this is more of a risk after flu than a cold). Complications, which may be viral or due to a bacteria, include bronchitis and pneumonia, meningitis, sinusitis and middle ear infections.
Fever is a particularly worrying sign, especially if it's high (above 38.5°C/101°F) when it's usually a sign of a bacterial infection. Urgent treatment with antibiotics is essential, so get checked out now.
Zinc can cut symptoms
It's still possible that your symptoms are just the tail end of a cold. If so, it may be worth remembering what you can do in future to cut the duration of a cold.
Research has shown that zinc supplements, which stimulate and strengthen the immune system, possibly shorten the length of a cold if taken as soon as it starts.
Some people claim that vitamin C can also help, but the scientific evidence is controversial.
However, good control of symptoms with plenty of fluids, pain relief and decongestants will certainly help you feel as though the cold hasn't lasted as long.
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Trisha Macnair in December 2005.
- 4 years ago
Drink fluids and take it easy. If you take decongestants or antihystimine nasal spray, you can "fake it" and pretend you don't have a cold for an hour or so.
My colds usually last for two weeks, but if I stay home from work, go to bed, and take a lot of medicine, it will last only fourteen days.
- Anonymous4 years ago
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Usualy if it goes a week or more then it is more than a cold. Watch them closely, make them drink a lot of fluids, and take them to a doctor if the symptoms worsen beyond what the first one has had, or if here is a sign of bacterial infection. Good luck.
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- 4 years ago
if it starts on a Tuesday its lasting until the following Thursday.
10 long days
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- banditLv 61 decade ago
7-10 days though not all of them will have acute symptoms.
- 5 years ago
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- 1 decade ago
3 days to one week.
- poshbaby24Lv 51 decade ago
a week or two