Health Topics

Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold)

An upper respiratory infection (URI), also known as the common cold, is one of the most common illnesses, leading to more doctor visits and absences from school and work than any other illness every year. It is estimated that during a one-year period, people in the United States will suffer 1 billion colds.

Caused by a virus that inflames the membranes in the lining of the nose and throat, colds can be the result of more than 200 different viruses. However, among all of the cold viruses, the rhinoviruses and the coronaviruses cause the majority of colds.

Cold Symptoms

Flu Symptoms

Low or no feverHigh fever
Sometimes a headacheCommonly a headache
Stuffy, runny noseSometimes a stuffy nose
SneezingSometimes sneezing
Mild, hacking coughCough, may progress
Slight aches and painsOften severe aches and pains
Mild fatigueFatigue, may persist
Sore throatSometimes a sore throat
Normal energy levelExhaustion
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When Is the “Cold” Season?

Causes of the Common Cold

Signs and Symptoms of a Cold

Difference Between a Cold and the Flu

Persons at Risk of Catching a Cold

Diagnosis of a Cold

Treatment for the Common Cold

Preventing a Cold

Complications of a Cold

Cold Weather and Colds

Antibiotics Overuse

Cold Viruses

Last Updated: 06/2012