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How long do colds usually last and do they require medical care?

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Cold symptoms typically last about three days. At that point the worst is over, but you may feel congested for a week or more.

Except in newborns, colds themselves are not dangerous. They usually go away in four to 10 days without any special medicine. Unfortunately, colds do wear down your body's resistance, making you more susceptible to bacterial infections.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Common Cold."

Palo Alto Medical Foundation: "The Common Cold."

University of Virginia Health System: "Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold)."

National Jewish Medical and Research Center: "Getting Well When You Have a Cold or the Flu."

Medline Plus: "Common Cold."

FDA: "Colds and Flu: Time only Sure Cure."

American Lung Association: "A Survival Guide for Preventing and Treating Influenza and the Common Cold."

UpToDate.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on April 2, 2019

SOURCES:

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Common Cold."

Palo Alto Medical Foundation: "The Common Cold."

University of Virginia Health System: "Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold)."

National Jewish Medical and Research Center: "Getting Well When You Have a Cold or the Flu."

Medline Plus: "Common Cold."

FDA: "Colds and Flu: Time only Sure Cure."

American Lung Association: "A Survival Guide for Preventing and Treating Influenza and the Common Cold."

UpToDate.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on April 2, 2019

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