Cold season is here, and with it comes the inevitable onset of cold symptoms. Generally, common colds in adults follow a pattern of stages, each with different signs and symptoms. Understanding these stages can help you better manage your cold and identify when to seek medical treatment. In this article, we will discuss what are the symptoms of a cold and their stages in adults. So, read on if you want to know how to treat common cold.

An Overview of Common Cold

The common cold is one of the most widespread illnesses worldwide. The cold symptoms normally start one to three days after the virus enters the body and can last up to two weeks. Colds are usually caused by a virus, although hundreds of different types of viruses can cause colds. It is important to remember that each person may have different stages of a cold and experience different cold symptoms depending on their immune response. 

Generally speaking, though, most people go through several stages when they have a cold, but treating cold is relatively easy.

Common Cold Symptoms

There are various common cold symptoms and stages of a cold that you should be aware of. A cold can last anywhere from one to two weeks and may include various stages. Mentioned below are the major common cold symptoms:

  • Headache


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Many people experience headaches when suffering from a cold, especially if a fever accompanies it. It is best to treat these symptoms with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If your headache persists or is particularly severe, you should consult with a doctor for further advice.

  • Runny nose

One of the most common cold symptoms, a runny nose, is usually one of the first signs that you have a cold. The mucous membranes in your nasal passage become inflamed and swollen, which causes an increase in mucus production, leading to a runny nose.

  • Sneezing

Sneezing is a common symptom of the cold virus and usually one of the first signs that you are coming down with it. Sneezes can be frequent and quite violent, often making your eyes water. Some people also experience an itching or tingling sensation in their nose before they sneeze. If you are sneezing a lot, try to remember to cover your mouth to help prevent the spread of germs. 

Additionally, if your sneezing is accompanied by thick green or yellow mucus, you should see a doctor as this could indicate that you have developed a bacterial infection.

  • Fatigue


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Fatigue is another common symptom of the cold virus, and many sufferers report feeling very tired and weak during the illness. This is usually due to the body fighting off the virus and can last for days or weeks. It is important to rest and get plenty of sleep when feeling fatigued as this will help your body to fight off the infection more quickly. 

Taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can also help reduce tiredness associated with colds. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids is important to prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate fatigue caused by a cold.

  • Sore Throat

A sore throat is a common symptom of the cold and can be uncomfortable and irritating. To ease the pain, it is recommended to take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. You can also try using home remedies, like drinking warm liquids or gargling with salt water to soothe the throat. Additionally, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated to help your body fight off the infection.

  • Congestion

One of the primary symptoms of a cold is congestion. Congestion can cause a stuffy or runny nose, as well as making it difficult to breathe. It is especially common at night when you are trying to sleep. Spraying a decongestant in your nose before bed and using saline drops or a neti pot can help to relieve this symptom during the day and at night. Taking an antihistamine may also help reduce congestion.

  • Coughing


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Another common symptom of having a cold is coughing. Coughing can range from mild hacking to severe, phlegmy coughs that make breathing difficult and discomforting. To ease this symptom, try sipping on warm beverages, such as tea or lemon-honey water, and taking over-the-counter medication like a cough suppressant. It's also important to keep hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Stages of Common Cold

Stage 1: Initial infection: During this stage, the virus enters through the mucous membranes and begins to replicate itself. This is when you may experience some cold symptoms such as sore throat, sneezing, coughing and watery eyes.

Stage 2: Early stages: The cold viruses can cause inflammation and swelling in your respiratory tract. You will usually feel worse during this stage than you did during the original infection stage because your body is fighting off the virus. Symptoms like sinus congestion, fatigue, or fever may also appear at this time.

Stage 3: Peak stages: The peak stages of a common cold can last anywhere from four to nine days. During this time, your cold symptoms are at their most severe, and you may experience the greatest level of discomfort.

Stage 4: Recovery stages: This is when your immune system has done its job and began to defeat the virus. Your body’s temperature should return to normal, and your breathing will become easier. You may still have some lingering cold symptoms, but they should start to subside as you get closer to full recovery.

common cold symptoms

Understanding the stages of a common cold can help you best prepare for it, know what symptoms to look out for, and determine when it's time to seek medical help if necessary. It is important to remember that individuals may vary in how quickly or slowly they go through each stage, so don't be too hard on yourself if you don't seem to follow the timeline above!

How to Treat Common Cold?

common cold

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Treating cold requires managing symptoms. Many people find relief from over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever and body aches, antihistamines for sneezing and runny nose, and decongestants for nasal congestion.

However, the best way to treating cold is to follow some home remedies. This will help relieve some of your  stress and help you get well faster. Here are some of the ways to treat common cold:

  • Papaya Leaf Extract Syrup

Papaya leaf extract is one of the most popular home remedies for treating a common cold due to its antiviral properties. Papaya leaf extract syrup has been used to reduce fever and treat common cold symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, and coughing. Other than syrup, you can also take Zanducare's papaya leaf extract tablet to get relief from common cold. It is 100% natural, helps digestion, and improves blood platelet count.

  • Saltwater Gargle

Saltwater gargles can help reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus. To make a saltwater solution, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle the mixture for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do this several times a day to relieve discomfort from a sore throat caused by colds. Drinking plenty of fluids during a cold is also important to help with congestion and keep your throat moist. Drinking warm liquids like tea with honey or lemon may be especially soothing.

  • Take Steamy Shower

steam shower

Image source: Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev: pexels

A hot shower can provide relief for a stuffy nose and sore throat. The steam helps to open up the nasal passageways, which makes it easier to breathe. It also helps soothe an irritated throat and can help reduce coughing. Keep in mind that very hot showers can dry out your skin, so you should use caution and avoid any shower temperature that is too extreme. If possible, adjust the settings of your shower head, so it has two different temperatures – one warm and one hot – so you can alternate between them to find relief without risking damage to your skin. 

Alternatively, try taking a bath instead of a shower for easier control over the water temperature. Make sure to keep the bathroom door closed while you enjoy your hot soak as the steam can provide the same relief as a hot shower.

  • Use Cold & Flu Reliever Spray

Cold & Flu relievers are sprays that can help reduce the severity of your cold symptoms. These sprays work by decreasing inflammation and congestion in the nasal passages and throat. The active ingredients in these products usually include ginger, peppermint, and camphor oils which have natural decongestant properties to help you breathe easier. 

Zanducare has an effective cold & flu reliever spray that can be used throughout the day. It's also suitable for children, making it an ideal choice 

for families.

  • Eat Only Infection-Fighting Food


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A diet full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can help your body fight a cold. Choose foods loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics. These include fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, and berries; vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach; nuts, seeds, and whole grains; fermented foods such as yogurt; fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon; green tea; garlic; honey; and bone broth.

  • Rest

When you have a cold, it is crucial to get plenty of rest. When your body is tired, it needs time to heal and recover. Try to avoid any strenuous activities or exercise until your symptoms clear up. This will help speed up the healing process and ensure you do not overwork yourself while feeling unwell. Moreover, it is vital to get enough sleep during this time; aim for 8 hours of sleep a night.

  • Menthol Ointment

Menthol ointment is an effective way to open up your nasal and sinus passages, allowing you to breathe easier. It also provides a cooling sensation that can help ease the pain of a sore throat. To use menthol ointment, apply it directly to your chest and neck area, avoiding contact with eyes or other sensitive areas. 

For best results, use menthol ointment several times daily until symptoms subside. Be sure to read the instructions on the product label before use.

The Bottom Line

It's important to remember that each person will experience different stages and severity when it comes to a common cold. While some may be able to get over a cold within a week, others may take longer, depending on their age, overall health status, and other factors. It's best to take precautionary methods such as getting enough rest and fluids when experiencing signs of a cold.

For the safest and most herbal treatment methods, it's best to choose Zanducare for the relief of common colds and flu-like illnesses. With natural ingredients like ginger, eucalyptus, honey, ginger, and peppermint, Zanducare offers a safe way to relieve common cold symptoms so you can get back to feeling your best in no time. So, place your order today and be on your way to a healthier, happier you!


Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
We use all kinds of Ayurvedic references in our content. Please use the contact form for any editorial queries.

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