What are the symptoms of a cold?
With a cold lasting several days and often consisting of multiple symptoms, it can be very disruptive to family life. The symptoms of a common cold can include:1,2,3
- Sore throat
- Malaise and mild fever
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
How to stop a cold from spreading
During cold season it can seem like catching a cold is unavoidable, but there are a few things you can do to help protect yourself and your family.
Wash your hands
The most important way to reduce the chances of catching or spreading the common cold is to wash your hands frequently with soap and running water (preferably warm).1 If water isn’t available, use hand sanitiser.2
Keep your environment clean
Viruses can contaminate surfaces at work and at home in your kitchen and bathroom. Clean surfaces regularly to avoid spreading the cold virus.1
Minimise contact with people who have cold symptoms. Cold viruses can spread from person to person, so minimising contact with those who are suffering can help.7
Practice good cold hygiene
Cover your cough and catch your sneezes with an elbow or a tissue. Throw the used tissue straight in the bin to reduce the spread of the cold virus.1
Ensure you take the time to rest; give yourself enough time to recover and sleep if you catch a cold.7
Eat well, avoid excess alcohol and smoking and make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Keeping hydrated and healthy will help you reduce your risk of catching a cold and help your recovery if you do catch a cold.7
MAT-AU-2102739, Dec 2021
 Colds [Internet]. Healthdirect.gov.au. April 2022 [cited 21 March 2023]. Available from: www.healthdirect.gov.au/colds#symptoms
 Simasek M, Blandino DA. Treatment of the common cold. American Family Physician. 2007 Feb 15;75(4):515-20. PMID: 17323712.
 Allan, G Arroll, B. “Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 183, no. 3 (2014): 190-199.
 Common Cold – Infections – MSD Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. MSD Manual Consumer Version. Sep 2022 [cited 21 March 2023]. Available from: www.msdmanuals.com/en-au/home/infections/respiratory-viruses/common-cold
 How Long Do Viruses Survive Outside the Body? | Passport Health [Internet]. Feb 2021 [cited 21 March 2023]. Available from: www.passporthealthusa.com/2020/02/how-long-do-viruses-survive-outside-the-body/
 The Common Cold [Internet]. Lungfoundation.com.au. 2016 [cited 21 March 2023]. Available from: https://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Factsheet-Common-Cold-Mar2016.pdf
 Redfearn S, Social Distancing Q. Stay Healthy: 6 Tips for Avoiding Cold and Flu [Internet]. WebMD. June 2018 [cited 21 March 2023]. Available from: “https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/avoid-cold-flu#1”