If the miseries of a cold are upon you, take heart. Three of every four colds last just a week, says Dr. Jack Gwaltney, a cold researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. But some colds linger for about two weeks, and in a few cases they may "be prolonged to one month."
Based on studies by Gwaltney and others, here are some of the symptoms that you can expect:
* Day One: A sore throat, runny nose, nasal blockage and sneezing are the most common symptoms for colds. Less frequent are headaches, coughs, a scratchy throat and hoarseness. About 10 percent of cold sufferers have fevers, compared with some 30 percent of flu victims, who also experience more aches and malaise.
* Day Two: Believe it or not, the frequency of sneezing starts to drop off a little bit, but the runny nose gets worse. Also worsened: nasal obstruction, sore throat, coughing and hoarseness. Chills increase. Fever drops off for cold sufferers, but becomes more common for those with the flu.
* Day Three: The runny nose, nasal blockage, cough and hoarseness increase. But sore throats are less likely. Sneezing also diminishes. Coughing persists for some 35 percent of those with colds. In flu sufferers, however, coughing reaches its peak: Some 70 percent of victims hack away.
* Day Four: The drippy nose and blocked nasal passages are less frequent. Also diminished: sore throats, hoarseness and sneezing. Coughing continues for some 35 percent of cold sufferers, but begins slacking off slighty for flu sufferers.
* Day Five: Only about 12 percent of cold sufferers still have sore throats. Sneezing declines to 20 percent.
* Day Six: With the exception of coughing, all other symptoms are improving. Runny nose is present in only about 30 percent of cold sufferers. Blocked nasal passages continue in only about 20 percent of cases. Sneezing is down to about 15 percent. For flu sufferers, coughing remains troublesome for about 55 percent.
* Day Seven: Sneezes are over. Sore throat is present in fewer than 10 percent of cold sufferers. Hoarseness continues to diminish. Runny nose and nasal obstruction continue in only about 25 percent of cases. Coughs continue in about three of every 10 cold sufferers and more than 50 percent of those with influenza.