What’s the Difference Between Common Cold, Head Cold and Chest Cold?

Runny nose, sneezing, inflamed throat and what not, the answer is most often a cold. You simply cannot mistake the symptoms of a cold.

However, the question still arises: Which type of cold? Is it the common cold, head cold or chest cold?

Many people struggle with defining what the difference between the three is. It is actually really simple.

Common Cold vs Head Cold vs Chest Cold

Colds are mostly common in winter, but they do not have much to do with the weather.

Cold as an illness is actually caused by viruses.

These three terms are interrelated and can often be mistaken. Let me explain what they all actually mean.

Common Cold

As I said, the common cold is an illness caused by viruses. There are more than 200 types of viruses that can cause the common cold, out of which the most common one is the rhinovirus.

When you are suffering from a bad cold, you simply don’t want to leave your home. Your nose is runny, your throat is hurting, and you do not have the strength to do anything.

Also, you must think of other people. The virus can be passed to anyone around you.

A cold can be caught if you are touching surfaces filled with germs, and then touch your mouth or nose. The virus attaches to the linings of throat and nose, and they become inflamed.

Also, you can catch it from someone who decided to leave their home with a cold.

The estimated number of Americans that stay home because of the common cold reaches 1 billion every year. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

Head Cold

Let me introduce the biggest secret of them all when it comes to cold. The head cold and the common cold are actually the exact same thing!

So, if you are suffering from a head cold, you are actually suffering from common cold.

A Cold, in general, can be split into two variants:

  • Common cold or head cold
  • Chest cold

Head cold is a viral infection and can last between a week and a month, depending on the infection. This cold occurs when rhinovirus and coronavirus attack the upper respiratory tract.

Symptoms of a Head Cold or Common Cold

You will know you are suffering from the common cold if you are experiencing:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny noseSneezing - head cold
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dry cough
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Mild fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heavy headed sensation

The symptoms of the common cold begin a few days after the body is infected, mostly between two and three days. The infection can actually last up to 2 weeks.

Try to stay away from people with cold and wash your hands more often. Your parents did not teach you to do this without a reason.

Chest Cold

As we mentioned, chest cold is the second variant of the cold. This is also a viral infection, but is known to be somewhat more complex from the head cold.

You probably assumed that the chest cold affects the chest region. You guessed right. More specifically, the virus is set in the lower respiratory tract that lies in the chest area.

Symptoms of a Chest Cold

The more complex situation, is due to the onset of the chest cold. When one suffers from a chest cold, the initial symptoms usually look like an approaching acute bronchitis.

If you are suffering from chest cold, you may experience:Chest cold

  • Strenuous breathing
  • Chest pain or burning sensation
  • Wheezing
  • Pain while coughing and breathing
  • Productive cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath


Both forms of cold are caused by the same thing: viral infections. This is why it is highly important to boost the immune system so that it can fight the viral pathogens.

Medicine is highly developed in terms of cold treatment. Even though there is no real cure for a cold, there are plenty of cold medicines.

However, my first choice for something as common as a cold are always natural remedies. Home remedies for cold can help you get some relief and do so in a natural way.

And in many cases, these tend to work more rapidly than drugs and have no side effects.


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