Two hundred against one.
Those are the numbers. In the war against the common cold, you have at least 200 viral adversaries.
That’s not exactly a ray of sunshine on brink of flu season, but it’s true. And, as the chilly wet weather sets in, you become even more susceptible. Good news for Kleenex sales. Bad news for you.
The common cold is a viral infection that infests the respiratory tract, and it can be caused by 200 different rhinoviruses. That hacking, wheezing person next to you? He’s a goner.
And, if you’re exposed to his airborne germs through his coughing or sneezing, or you bum a sip of his coffee, you will be too. Instant infection.
Colds are highly contagious. They’re also uncurable. The news just keeps getting better. Decongestants, rest and hot liquids may ease your symptoms, but they won’t conquer the cold itself.
Antibiotics are also useless in combating colds, as they only fight bacterial and not viral infections. Because antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, they will probably worsen your situation.
Your best weapon against a cold is avoiding it. You won’t have to fight a cold if you successfully fend it off. That means have a strong line of defense. Since colds are so contagious, steer clear of anyone surrounded by mounds of snot rags.
Airborne germs travel in vapor droplets released by sneezes and coughs. Sharing drinks, food, utensils, Chapstick, make-up and boyfriends also won’t improve your chances of staying healthy.
The eyes and the mouth are two most direct entrances for germs. Wash your hands as often as possible, and try not to touch your eyes or suck your thumb. This should also improve your social interaction. Nobody likes a thumb-sucker.
Generally, keeping up your physical health will decrease your chances of getting sick.
Getting a good night’s sleep, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, taking vitamin supplements and dressing properly in cold weather will help to strengthen your immune system.
If you get a cold, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, take decongestants and get enough rest to sleep it off.
Otherwise, colds can mature into bronchitis, more serious respiratory ailments, ear infections, sinusitis or even laryngitis (yummy). Colds typically last anywhere from three to 14 days, so the quicker you deal with it, the quicker you’ll be rid of it.
Finally, college students and adults get about three colds per year, which is only one-third as many as pre-school children.
The adult body has increased immunity to viruses it has already faced. That is at least one reason to look forward to old age.
After all, how often do you see your grandma blowing her schnoz?
Nadia Stadnyckican be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org