More than 200 different viral strains cause the common cold. Colds are spread by hand-to-hand contact, breathing in the virus, or by touching infected surfaces and transferring the virus to your nose, eyes, or mouth.


Symptoms of a common cold can last for up to 2 weeks. They include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild headache
  • Mild body aches
  • Low grade fever


Antibiotics do not work for the common cold or other illnesses caused by viruses. Over the counter medications may provide relief for symptoms.

  • Decongestants for nasal congestion
  • Cough suppressants to decrease coughing
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for sore throat, fever, and body aches
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Keep hydrated
  • Use a humidifier

See a Student Health provider if

  • You have a measured temperature higher than 100.4 F
  • Symptoms are present for longer than 10 days

To avoid spreading illness to others

  • Frequent hand washing or hand sanitizer use
  • Keep mouth and nose covered if coughing or sneezing


  • Frequent hand washing or hand sanitizer use
  • Avoid close contact with people who have colds