The Cold Itself Isn't Making You Feel Sick, You Are
So you’ve caught a cold and you’re sneezing like you’ve got pepper psoriasis. Your nose is running, your throat is itching and your head feels ready to burst, due to pressure on your sinuses. This is all down to an invasion by that pesky Rhinovirus, looking to trample all over your respiratory system; time to break out the Echinacea so that your immune system can take it down.
Not so fast. Most of those symptoms are being caused by your immune system. In fighting off the not so harmful cold virus, sometimes our immune systems get a little overzealous, turning our sinuses into a battleground. The virus itself isn’t making you feel like death warmed up, your own antibodies working to flush it out are.
Vitamin C Probably Won’t Help That Much, But Gramma's Chicken Soup Will
We’ve all heard it; vitamin C will not only prevent a cold, but will also help to get rid of one. Well, it won’t do anything more than taking sugar pills would. Over half a century of studies on the subject have shown that vitamin C has a marginal, if any, effect on colds, comparable to a placebo.
However, what studies have discovered can help with your cold is homemade chicken soup. Whether it is the warm steam coming off the broth helping to get mucus moving or inhibiting the movement of infection-fighting neutrophils, no one is quite sure yet, but the results are believed to be more than just psychological. Thanks, gramma.
The “Common” Cold Ain't So Common
Your immune system is supposed to fight off a cold and then keep some handy veterans around who know just how to kill that particular virus, in order to kill them immediately should they ever be encountered again. So why is it that we get a cold year after year?
Simply, there are many different cold viruses. Every time you have caught a cold, you have caught a virus that you have never had before, one extremely similar to other cold viruses. Until you’ve caught them all, you will still be susceptible to the common cold. Once you have caught them all though, no more colds! Except since there are about 200 different viruses that cause the common cold, you’d have to catch a hell of a lot of colds and live a very long time.