The common cold is a contagious viral infection of the head and chest. The nose,
throat, sinuses, ears, eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes may
be involved. There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Cold viruses
are spread through the air from coughing or sneezing or from person-to-person contact,
Cold viruses provoke a massive immune response (sneezing, inflammation, secretions,
and so forth), including an increase in certain types of immune cells that, in the
course of recovery, may add yellow or greenish color to the discharge.
Neither antibiotics nor nonprescription medicines will cure the common cold. A recent
survey showed that many patients seen in primary care were given a prescription
for antibiotics. This is not only a waste of money and resources, but it increases
the likelihood that bacterial strains will develop antibiotic resistance. Thus,
when you need antibiotics, they may not work. And you are at risk of side effects
when taking antibiotics.
Call the Student Health Center if you have any of these symptoms: