Sore throat and runny nose are usually the first signs of a cold, followed by coughing and sneezing. Most people recover in about 7-10 days. You can help reduce your risk of getting a cold: wash your hands often, avoid close contact with sick people, and don’t touch your face with unwashed hands. a stuffy or congested nose occurs when the tissues lining it become swollen. The swelling is due to inflamed blood vessels. The problem may also include nasal discharge or runny nose. if excess mucus runs down the back of your throat (postnasal drip), it may cause a cough or sore throat.