The common cold is an illness that is brought about by a virus. The term actually encompasses more than 200 different viruses, but the most common are the rhinovirus, which researchers believe is responsible for between 10 and 40 percent of all colds. Contrary to popular belief, colds are not caught by being cold or having wet hair or clothing. The cold virus is spread from one person to the next, by sharing food items, being in close proximity where coughing and sneezing can spread the virus and even by touching an object that an infected person recently touched. The ease with which the common cold can spread is why it is so very...common.
In some cases, people who have a cold are able to “wait out” the progression of the virus and can find relief from various over-the-counter medications. In some cases, however, cold symptoms make a person incredibly uncomfortable and lead them to seek treatment at an urgent care center. Examples include cases where a patient’s breathing is impacted, or where fever and chills make it impossible to find comfort. For those instances, a trip to an urgent care facility can provide relief from symptoms, as well as an exam to ensure that the problem is, in fact, a common cold and not something more serious.
In some patients, what seems like a common cold can actually be pneumonia. Both conditions share a number of symptoms, including coughing, stuffy nasal cavities and sneezing. While a cold does not directly cause pneumonia, many people develop pneumonia after having fought off a cold. This is likely due to the fact that a person’s immune system is compromised after a cold, and is more susceptible to infection. When faced with symptoms that seem more intense than those associated with a common cold, it is a good idea to seek professional diagnostics and care.