Advertisement

How long can colds last?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Symptoms usually start two to three days after you've been infected, and colds can last for up to two weeks.

The first symptoms of influenza, including fever, chills, headache, and body aches, often begin to go away after about 2 or 4 days. In some cases, these symptoms will last 5 days or longer. The respiratory symptoms of influenza, such as coughing, throat irritation, and congestion may last for days or weeks.

Parents often look for a quick fix to their child’s cold and cough symptoms. But, according to Dennis Woo, MD, UCLA pediatrician, most colds will last seven to 10 days with or without treatment.
Cold symptoms can last up to two weeks, but most people recover after a week to 10 days. If your symptoms persist, call your doctor. You may be suffering from allergies, not a cold. If you have a high fever, severe sinus pain or a cough that produces mucus, you may have a more serious illness. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms.

Continue Learning about Cold and Flu

Flu, Colds and Other Bugs: How to Stay Well
Flu, Colds and Other Bugs: How to Stay Well
Busted! We admit it: We can be manic about shooing people home at the first snuffle or sneeze, even if they swear they feel well enough to work. Fine;...
Read More
When will the intradermal flu vaccine be available?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
The intradermal vaccine is available for the 2011-2012 flu season as a shot that is injected into th...
More Answers
7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked
7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked
Get the facts on the cold and flu and keep your family healthy this season.
Start Slideshow
What Is Eucalyptus Oil?
What Is Eucalyptus Oil?

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.