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What causes a common cold?

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WebMD Expert


The rhinovirus (or other cold virus) enters your body through your nose or mouth and is easily spread when you touch someone or touch common objects contaminated with a cold virus, such as your computer keyboard or mouse, the telephone receiver, a doorknob, or eating utensils. If you aren't cautious about hand washing, you can spread the common cold to family, friends, co-workers, and people you've never met at a restaurant or the supermarket. Of course, if someone with a cold or flu sneezes or coughs around you, the virus can spread that way, too.

While getting chilled or wet is not a cause of common colds, there are factors that make you more susceptible to catching a cold virus. For example, you are more likely to catch a common cold if you are excessively fatigued, have emotional distress, or have allergies with nose and throat symptoms.

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