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Fact #1

visual of different viruses

There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold 1

Fact #2

woman adult and girl child sitting on floor

Adults: 2 – 4 infections per year 1
Children: 3 – 8 infections per year 1

Fact #3

yellow leaves arranged in a star

Colds occur more frequently in the autumn and winter months 2

Fact #4

visual of a virus

Rhinoviruses are the most common cause. 

Other viruses include: 1,2  

  • Coronavirus,
  • Influenzae virus,
  • Adenovirus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus

Fact #5

tissue in a blue box

The average person has more than 50 colds during a lifetime 3

Fact #6

woman exercising with weights in hands

Complete recovery usually occurs within 7 days (10-14 days for children) 1

Fact #7

woman with hand in front of face

Coughing can persist for 3 – 8 weeks after a viral cold 4

Fact #8

Colds are spread by: 1,5

Direct contact

woman and man holding hands smiling at each other

With an infected person.

Indirect contact

car door handle

By touching railings, door handles etc.

Droplet spread

car door handle

Such as sneezing, coughing etc.

Fact #9

hands shaking with viruses being transmitted

Viruses can survive on hands for up to 2 hours 1

Fact #10

smiling doctor

Colds are the leading cause of visits to the doctor 3

Fact #11

facade of a high rise office block

The spread of colds usually requires long-term contact e.g. home, schools

Fact #12

white mug on a ledge

Viruses can survive on objects in ideal conditions for up to 4 days 1

Fact #13

closeup visual of virus

A single virus can have 16 million offspring within the course of a day 6

Fact #14

droplets sprayed in a mist

A sneeze can travel at a speed of 156 km/hr 7

Fact #15

Colds are the leading cause of time lost from: 3

  • Work
  • School
clock being buried under sand

Fact #16

visualization of viruses

A single sneeze droplet can contain 100 million viruses 8

Fact #17

young man kissing young woman on the cheeck

Most cold viruses are not spread by saliva so kissing itself is not likely to transmit the common cold 5

Fact #18

closeup of athletics track lanes

A sneeze can spread a distance from 5 m to 200 m 9

You can catch a cold from the cold.


Test your knowledge.

References: 1. Buensalido JAL, Wallace MR. Rhinovirus (RV) Infection (Common Cold). MedScape [online] 2017 Sep 11 [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 2. Doyle WJ, Cohen S. Etiology of the common cold: Modulating factors. [online] 2009 [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 3. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Common Cold. [online] 2016 [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 4. Atkinson SK, Sadofsky LR, Morice AH. How does rhinovirus cause the common cold cough? BMJ Open Resp Res 2016;3:e000118. 5. Sexton DJ, McClain MT. Patient education: The common cold in adults (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate [online] 2018 Jan 25 [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 6. Bryer M. 13 crazy facts about the common cold. [online] [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 7. Gore G, Verma A. Sneezing – Physiolical Facts and Beliefs. J Assoc Phys India 2017;65:106. 8. Zimmerman R. Chapter 15. Patterns of Infection: a Delicate Balance. 519-551. [online] [cited 2018 Mar 19]. Available from: URL: 9. Bourouiba L, Dehandschoewercker E, Bush JWM. Violent expiratory events: on coughing and sneezing. J Fluid Mech 2014;745:537-563.

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