The common cold is an infection in the nose and throat. A tiny germ, called a virus, causes this infection. It often affects your nose, throat, ears, and sinuses. A cold can easily spread from person to person. Coughing, sneezing, or touching something with the germ on it spreads the cold. Most colds go away on their own without treatment. Antibiotics will not help a cold. Your doctor may order drugs to help with the signs of a cold. Even though you may feel very sick, the common cold is not a health emergency.