There are a number of symptoms of the common cold. For the most part, cold symptoms are what can be considered somewhat generic, with many of them being signs and symptoms for a number of other diseases or conditions. For the most part, however, common cold symptoms will usually manifest on many fronts and simultaneously, and, with some exceptions are usually not too severe. Generally, the dehabilitating part of the common cold is not from the overall power of the disease, but generally from the multitude of cold symptoms that emerge at one given time.
Symptoms of the common cold, like the condition itself, are self terminating, meaning that they will usually go away after the disease completes its duration. Most cold symptoms generally last around 1 to 3 weeks, and sometimes they can linger for longer than the condition itself. Common cold symptoms usually peak around two to three days after they first emerge. Symptoms of the common cold are extremely similar to symptoms of influenza, but influenza symptoms manifest almost immediately after infection, and are usually more severe than cold symptoms. Often common cold symptoms are going to be more severe in younger children, especially in infants and toddlers, and can be especially severe in smokers or those with ongoing respiratory ailments, like asthma or emphysema.
Occurrances of the common cold, like influenza, do not manifest continuously as the result of the same individual virus; the cold can be caused by a number of different viruses, called rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Since these viruses all generally effect the upper respiratory tract, the symptoms are typically similar, but there can often be significant variations in cold symptoms. This is even true in the same individual, over a very limited period of time.
Cough - Cough is fairly standard among common cold symptoms, as it is the result of throat irritation due to increases or infected mucus build-up. A "cold cough" is generally something of a byproduct of other cold symptoms, such as sore throat and runny nose. Among cold symptoms, it also has the most frequent propensity to linger for some time after that duration of the cold, as the respiratory system tries to restabilize itself. While cold cough is generally not too severe, and many people can function in day to day activities, many medical professionals advise cold sufferers to stay away from public places when the cough is at its most severe, as it facilitate the spread of the disease to others. Cough can also be a symptom of many other diseases and conditions as well. When functioning as a symptom of the common cold, a cough will usually generate from the back of the throat, a deeper cough, that eminates from lower in the body, and especially from the lungs, may be signs of a different respiratory alment. Cold cough also takes a few days to develop, if a cough emerges immediately, and is combined with a fever, they likely indicate influenza rather than be symptoms of the common cold.
Fatigue/Muscle Aches - Fatigue and muscle ache (myalgia) are symptoms of the common cold that may emerge a few days into its duration, usually due to the exertion of the body's immune system to fight the disease, and possibly due to interruptions in sleep patterns. The cold virus, when spread to other parts of the body, can also cause minor inflammation, which in turn can cause limited muscle pain.
Fever - Fever, amond the symptoms of the common cold, is generally the most debilitating, and the one that usually prompts the most bed rest and leads to the most missed work and school. In the common cold, fever is usually a temperature that is around a degree or two above average, and often causes difficulty in judgment, focusing of vision, and impairment in many different skills. In most cases, a high fever is an indicator of influenza, especially when in conjunction with a severe cough.
Headache - Headaches can be symptoms of the common cold as well as a number of other conditions. Usually with a cold, headaches manifest as the byproduct of other cold symptoms, such as fever, which causes the brain's temperature to increase above normal, causing pain. Nasal congestion can aslo cause sinus headache, and the overall irritation caused by the common cold can even facilitate tension headaches.
Loss of Appetite - Loss in appetite can emerge among symptoms of the common cold, which can often directly be linked to irritation of the throat inhibiting the desire to swallow, and muscus build up or nasal fluid irritation affecting the taste buds, hindering the ability to taste or causing things to taste unappetizing (similarly, this can effect the odor of certain foods, making them appear inedible, or at least undesired). Usually, cold sufferers thus desire bland food with low acid content so as not to irritate their throat for this reason.
Nasal Congestion - Nasal congestion is perhaps one of the best indicators among common cold symptoms, even without the immediate manifestations of other symptoms. Nasal congestion causes the nasal passages to become blocked due to inflammation of the mucus membranes, which have become irritated by the viral infection. Usually the mucus blockage can be quite irritating, causing headache and increasing cranial temperature, facilitating fever. It can also cause a nasal drip in the back of the throat that irritate it, causing sore throat and cough.
Pink Eye (Viral Conjunctivitis) - Viral conjunctivitis develops, usually in both eyes, due to spread of the cold virus to the eyes. Usually this occurs because eyes become watery due to respiratoty irritations, causing viral agents to move directly to the eye; they can alse be spread through sneezing, or using a tissue to wipe away tears after it has already wiped away mucus from the nose. Viral pink eye as common cold symptoms, are usually itchy, with water discharge, with pinkness diffused throughout the eye.
Runny Nose - One of the most common symptoms of the common cold, rhinorrhea, or runny nose, emerges due to a significant increase in nasal fluid, which occurs when the body tries to fight an infection. The excess fluid is the body's way of rehydrating itself and to loosen contaminated mucus that has formed as the result of the cold. Runny nose is not too serious, but can be an irritating, and usually causes other cold symptoms, like sore throat and cough.
Shivering - Shivering is different when it is one of the symptoms of common cold than in its typical manifestation. Shivering usually is an involuntary response to lowered body temperature as a way of increasing body temperature. As common cold symptoms, shivers appear despite the body temperature is usually elevated. This happens as a result of body disparity, as the body will generally try to achieve homeostasis, especially if one part of the body, especially the head, is overheated due to fever.
Sneezing - Sneezing in the common cold, again common among cold symptoms, generally occurs due to the increased production of histamines by the body to combat the cold. Histamines trigger the nose to sneeze as a way or expelling foreign agents, which in a viral condition like the common cold consists mostly of contaminated mucus and viral material. Sneezing, like coughing, are among the common cold symptoms that are easy to endure day to day, but actually can significantly increase the potential for infection.
Sore Throat - As with most common cold symptoms, sore throat should be considered as sign of cold only when in conjunctions with a number of other cold symptoms, as many disease and infections cause sore throat. In the common cold, sore throat is usually an irritation caused by mucus build-up in the upper respiratory system. The mucus, in most cold manifestations, becomes very viscous and watery, and does not coat the upper respiratory system as it is supposed to, causing the irritation. When a sore throat is inflammed, or covered in spots, it is likely an indication of other diseases, such as strep throat or even diptheria (both of which can be aided in their development by the common cold).