The common cold is an infection in the upper respiratory tract caused by a virus. A common cold can affect the sinuses, nose, throat, larynx and airways of the lungs. Common cold viruses are contagious and typically passed on by hand contact with an infected person or object. Symptoms of the common cold include blocked nose, sore throat, headaches, coughing and sneezing and usually last 3-10 days. There is no cure for the common cold due to different strains of the virus.