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Science in Seconds - The Common Cold

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Science in Seconds Know Everything RUMOURS – The Common Cold Rheanna Sand: As you might be able to tell from my voice, I have a cold. Or do I? Colds and flu are perplexingly similar. They're both incurable viruses that cause headaches, sore throat, coughing, nasal congestion, and chills. To make it even more confusing, cold viruses can cause the flu, and influenza viruses can cause colds. But if you have a fever, you probably have the flu. So, what causes all those nasty symptoms, and what can we do about them? The good news is, all that pain and mucus is a sign that your body is fighting off the infection. Your white blood cells, or leukocytes, and macrophages patrol your body, looking for foreign invaders. When they come across a growing virus population, they release inflammatory factors, molecules that signal the surrounding cells to trap, suffocate, and expel the invaders. The side effects of inflammation are the nasty symptoms. One signal, called bradykinin, reacts with the nerve endings in your throat to cause irritation. When the inflammation spreads to your larynx, you cough. When signals called cytokines reach your hypothalamus, they trick you into thinking you're cold, and you get chills. Even though symptoms like fever and the urge to rest are good for fighting off the infection, we all want to get rid of the pain and mucus. The bad news is there's no silver bullet. Vitamin C doesn't prevent colds, but, if taken regularly, will reduce the duration of your illness. Taking garlic supplements did prevent colds in one study, but it's only one study. Side effects included rash and, ehm... odor. Echinacea studies are a mess. Which species? Root or herb? Dried powder, or liquid extract? Given by a certified naturalist, or a back-alley witch? Other natural remedies like elderberry or honey have promise, but homeopathy and hydrotherapy absolutely do not. NSAIDs, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen lessen the pain, but don't help a sore throat or a cough. The treatment that seems to have the best results are zinc lozenges, but the majority of products on the market doesn't give a high enough dose, or include flavor-masking agents that render the ionic zinc ineffective. So, it looks like I'll be sticking with bed rest and plenty of fluids, and let my leukocytes and macrophages do their thing. Courtesy of Science in Seconds – All rights reserved No profit or advertisement use allowed. (Translators are invited to put their name here)

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 39 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Science in Seconds
Director: Science in Seconds
Views: 434
Posted by: tradottiinitaliano on Jun 30, 2012

Upper respiratory tract infections, also known as colds and flus, are the most common human diseases. Rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, and influenza strains are to blame. But the severity and duration of these incurable illnesses depends mostly on the age and health of the host.

We're all much too familiar with the suite of nasty symptoms - headache, sore throat, cough, lethargy, and the messiest symptom of all, the dreaded sneeze. But what causes this funhouse of phlegm? And what, if anything, can be done about it?


Science in Seconds takes a watery-eyed look.

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