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"How long should the average cold last?"

ZocdocAnswersHow long should the average cold last?

Question

Been sick for a while now. It?s going on three weeks. My nose is really runny and sometimes I feel like I have to throw up after I eat. Do I just have a cold or is it something else?

Answer

The common cold is the name used to describe a simple upper respiratory tract infection (URI). The symptoms of a URI include a runny nose, a cough, feeling run down, and sometimes a low grade fever. In people that have a normal immune system, the symptoms should not last much more than 2 weeks. Since your symptoms have been going on fro 3 weeks, and you are feeling nauseous, then I would question whether or not you really have a cold. Another possibility is that you have a viral bronchitis. This is like a cold, but the infection runs a bit deeper into your lungs and can last 3 to 4 weeks. The primary symptom of viral bronchitis is a cough, though a runny nose is also common. Vomiting can occur as well, but this is usually caused by a really long coughing spell (you cough a bunch then vomit). If you are feeling nauseous without coughing, then you likely have something else going on. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to your symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. This may be all that is needed to make a diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment.

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