The common cold is the most frequently experienced acute illness in the United States. It is a self-limiting infection, most often attributed to a viral pathogen. It has a variety of presenting symptoms, including sore throat, sneezing, alternating congestion and rhinorrhea, cough, fever, and body aches. Symptoms usually peak within 2 to 4 days of onset; however, the average cold can last up to 10 days.

The mainstay of treatment for the common cold is symptomatic relief. A variety of home remedies and nondrug methods for fighting the common cold exist; however, this entry focuses specifically on the available pharmacological products. Selection of the appropriate product depends on the patient's presenting symptoms. Ingredients to treat cough and cold are available in a variety of single-entity and ...

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