What is the common cold?

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James F Wirth

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What is the common cold?
« on: 07/02/2009 12:30:04 »
James F Wirth  asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Chris,

My name is Jim Wirth from Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Firstly, Kudos for having one of the topflight science podcasts. And I think you are lots more fun that Boston Museum of Science, The AAAS, Nature, the Guardian, etc.

I have so many questions about a particular topic, that I wonder if you
could do a "special" on it.


(aka Rhinitis)

A. How does a sufferer tell the difference between a cold and the flu?

B. How much money (estimated) and/or man-hours worldwide is lost because
of the common cold?  What is the mortality rate - to include death by
other diseases acquired after having a cold due to weakened health.

C. Does washing you hands [as recommended by the medical community]
destroy the cold virus or just flush it away?

D. Do the hand purification products (e.g. "Purel"? in the USA)
cold viruses or just bacteria.

E. I vaguely recall a study using Google mapping techniques that
discovered "hot spots" for cold virus distribution on things like
switches and door knobs. Could these be (inexpensively) coated with
something which would destroy the viruses without harming humans?

F. Has anyone tried to design a hand lotion that would destroy cold
viruses for about 1-2 hours and that could be used several times a day.

G. During what period of infection is a cold sufferer most able to
spread the disease.  Exactly what mechanisms spread it? I have heard the
phrase "sheds millions of virus particles" as if these were just
off our bodies and covering everything around us.

H. Does a victim have to move the cold virus onto or into some part of
their face to "catch" the cold?

I. Etc. - Maybe ask other listeners for their questions?

Thanks, keep creating your terrific podcast.

Jim Wirth

What do you think?


Offline Nicci

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What is the common cold?
« Reply #1 on: 11/02/2009 09:52:06 »
See newbielink:http://www.commoncold.org/index.htm [nonactive]