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How long do cold symptoms last?

ANSWER

Colds generally linger for 3 days to about a week, but symptoms can last up to 2 weeks.

If you're getting worse, your cold may become a bacterial infection. If symptoms last more than 1 to 2 weeks or get worse after about 5 days, you should see a doctor.

From: Is It an Allergy or Just a Cold? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mandell, G. , 7th ed, Churchill Livingstone, 2009. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases

Kliegman, R. , 18th ed, Saunders Elsevier, 2007. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Tips to Remember: Rhinitis."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Flu/Cold or Allergies?"

Merck Manual: "Seasonal Allergies."

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Flu Information: Is It a Cold or the Flu?"

Family Doctor: "Colds and the Flu," "Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options," "Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion," "Pain Relievers: Understanding Your OTC Options."

MedicineNet: "Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

SOURCES:

Mandell, G. , 7th ed, Churchill Livingstone, 2009. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases

Kliegman, R. , 18th ed, Saunders Elsevier, 2007. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Tips to Remember: Rhinitis."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Flu/Cold or Allergies?"

Merck Manual: "Seasonal Allergies."

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Flu Information: Is It a Cold or the Flu?"

Family Doctor: "Colds and the Flu," "Antihistamines: Understanding Your OTC Options," "Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion," "Pain Relievers: Understanding Your OTC Options."

MedicineNet: "Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

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How do you spot poison ivy?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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