The major winter holidays are over and we’re stuck with chilly weather and cloudier-than-usual skies until Spring finally decides to make an appearance.
And you know what else we’re stuck with? Colds. Lots and lots of colds.
Have you ever wondered why we could put a man on the moon but still can’t cure the common cold? We have! And we looked into it.
Here’s the deal:
Some of the very common symptoms of the cold include runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, and sometimes sore throat and watery eyes.
According to scientists, at least half of colds are caused by rhinoviruses, of which there are approximately 100 different types. Yep. 100.
And therein lies the problem. There are so many different viruses and causes for the common cold – and those viruses change from year to year – that we’ll never catch up with them.
So while we can’t treat colds themselves, the best we can do is treat their symptoms. According to Science Based Medicine:
The lack of efficacy of Cough and Cold Medicines (CCMs) is not surprising when one considers the pathophysiology of common cold symptoms. Those familiar and annoying signs and symptoms are primarily a result of our body’s own inflammatory response to the viral destruction of infected cells in our upper airway. By the time this inflammation has begun, the progression of the illness and the resulting symptoms is inevitable. Our immune system (with the exception of those with congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies) is usually quite capable of rapidly countering the upper airway invasion by these viruses with this robust (though uncomfortable) inflammatory response. Most of the anecdotally reported benefits of CCMs are likely attributable to the self-limited nature of colds – a result our body’s own ability to clear the virus and repair the damage.