Advertisement

How common are colds?

Keri Peterson, MD
Internal Medicine
Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Keri Peterson discusses how many colds most American adults get each year. Watch Dr. Peterson's video for information on health and wellness.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Most American adults catch two to four colds every year. That's part of the trade-off of living in this world. You know, interacting with people: shaking their hands, touching things they've just touched, kissing them, and whatever else comprises interacting in your life. Unless you can swear off people and hire someone to clean every doorknob before you touch it, washing your hands is the best way to prevent colds.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

More About this Book

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

Colds are more common than influenza. Adults often have a cold or two each year, and children may have as many as eight colds a year.

Influenza is extremely common worldwide. During "flu season", which is generally during fall and winter, outbreaks affect people in great numbers. In the United States, seasonal influenza affects from 5 percent to 20 percent of people each year, with about 200,000 of those people having to be hospitalized for complications related to influenza, and an average of 36,000 dying from these complications.

Colds are certainly common: More than 1 billion cases of the sniffles occur each year in the United States. Colds are the number one reason people miss work and school, and they account for more doctor visits than any other illness. Children get the most colds, anywhere from two to six a year, on average. Adults fare a little better: They come down with an average of one to three colds annually.

Continue Learning about Cold and Flu

Why You Always Get Sick in the Fall
Why You Always Get Sick in the Fall
Fall means the leaves are changing, the kids are going back to school—and you’re on your fourth sick day this month. “We typically get an uptick of pa...
Read More
If I have a cold or flu, when should I call a doctor about my sore throat?
Intermountain HealthcareIntermountain Healthcare
If you have a cold or flu, here are some tips for when to call a doctor about your sore throat:S...
More Answers
How to Survive Cold and Flu Season This Year
How to Survive Cold and Flu Season This YearHow to Survive Cold and Flu Season This YearHow to Survive Cold and Flu Season This YearHow to Survive Cold and Flu Season This Year
From opening a window for a little fresh air to disinfecting your kids’ toys, these easy tips can keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
Start Slideshow
Sick? Don't Go Into the Office!
Sick? Don't Go Into the Office!

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.