The common cold is spread by the cold virus being introduced into your nasal passages. This can be transmitted via body fluids droplets being carried through the air and landing inside your mouth or nose. Or it can also occur if you touch an infected person or item and the cold virus is transmitted from your hand if/when you touch your nose.

The cold virus is then transported through your nasal passages by virtue of the way your nose functions, and is deposited into the adenoid area.

Once the cold virus enters the adenoid area (a lymph gland) it attaches to cells that are found there. Once the virus is taken inside the cell, it begins to start an infection and produce more virus particles. The infected cell eventually dies and ruptures, releasing newly made cold virus to infect other cells in the nose and start the process over again. From the time a cold virus enters the nose, it takes 8-12 hours for the viral reproductive cycle to be completed and for new cold virus to be released in nasal secretions.

Cold symptoms occur due to the body’s response to the infection. Around the same time the cold virus is released in nasal secretions, the body responds by activating parts of the immune system and some nervous system reflexes. These triggers cause the typical cold symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc.

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