Stages of a Cold

January 31, 2024

If you’re suffering from mild illness symptoms, it’s possible that you are suffering from a cold. Continue reading to learn more about cold symptoms, how long colds last and whether you should seek medical care for your symptoms. Visit AFC Urgent Care Stoneham for same-day illness care available daily from 8am-8pm with no appointment needed.

Are Colds Contagious?

Colds are very common illnesses that most commonly occur during the colder winter months. Anyone can contract a cold, which is why it is important to know the early symptoms and typical stages of a cold. Colds are an umbrella term to describe mild viral infections. There are hundreds of different viruses which can lead to a cold. In most cases, colds are very mild and rarely require medical care.

 Viral infections are very contagious. Cold season usually peaks in the winter months, due to the increased time spend indoors. Time spent indoors exposes us to viruses which can lead to a cold because we are spending more time in close contact with people who could be carrying a virus. Because colds are so mild, you may be able to continue attending school and work without realzing you have a contagious illness. Viruses can spread through direct contact with someone who is infected with a virus, indirect contact with the virus by touching the same surfaces as a sick person, or even by breathing in the same air as someone who is sick.

Stages of a Cold

Although colds can be caused by many different viruses, the signs and symptoms of a cold tend to follow the same stages.

  1. Fatigue: You likely will feel tired and worn down before you experience any symptoms associated with a cold.
  2. Symptoms: Cold symptoms are very mild. You often will experience symptoms such as a cough, congestion, sore throat or runny nose. If you experience severe symptoms, such as a fever, you may have a more serious illness that requires medical care. Symptoms typically appear a day or two after you contract a virus and can last up to two weeks.
  3.  Lingering symptoms: In some cases, your symptoms may resolve slowly or in phases. This can result in symptoms such as a cough lasting much longer than your other cold symptoms. If your symptoms become worse over time, you should seek medical care for a medical diagnosis and treatment.  
  4. Secondary illness: Mild viral infections can sometimes develop into more serious secondary infections. Sinus infections and phenomenia are both common secondary illnesses that can occur due to a cold. The most common sign that your cold is developing into a secondary infection is worsening symptoms over time. In most cases, these secondary infections require medical care for treatment.  

Walk Into AFC Urgent Care Stoneham For Same-Day Illness Care In Stoneham, MA

Although colds are mild illnesses that rarely require medical treatment, it is important to know the normal symptoms of a cold. This can help you identify whether you are suffering from something more serious than a cold, as well as help you manage your symptoms appropriately. AFC Urgent Care Stoneham offers peace of mind by providing illness diagnosis and treatment seven days a week with no appointment required. Simply walk into our clinic, or schedule an appointment online.

The medical providers at AFC Urgent Care Stoneham are fully board-certified and trained to asses your symptoms and accurately diagnose the cause. Using our on-site laboratory, our medical providers can perform diagnostic testing at the time of your visit, all without an appointment. Our clinic maintains short wait times and is open from 8am-8pm daily so that you can get reliable medical care when it is convenient for you. Walk into our clinic for rapid illness care today. For additional information regarding our clinic, contact us directly by calling (781) 279-4000.


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