CHIEF RABBI, HACHAM SHAUL KASSIN 5681 – 5779 / 1921-2018

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By: Efraim Harari

Before scientists knew about bacteria and viruses, they noticed that most coughing, sneezing, and runny noses occurred in the winter. So, they called that type of sickness a “cold.” Eventually they realized that it’s not the cold temperature that causes colds, but rather the dryness in the air (low humidity) which is so prevalent in the winter. But for some reason, even until today, many people are still convinced that a cold results from exposure to cold weather. The fact is, however, that cold conditions have little or no effect on the development or severity of a cold.

The cold became known as “the common cold” because it is the most frequent infectious disease among people. On average, an adult will get a cold two to three times a year, while a child will catch it between six and twelve time a year. Colds are the most common reason for children to miss school and adults to miss work.

Are colds contagious?

The common cold is highly contagious. The cold virus, which enters your body through your mouth, eyes, or nose, can spread through droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes, or talks. But the virus also spreads by hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold, or by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the cold virus, such as a doorknob, towel, phone, or toy.

People are most contagious for the first two to three days of a cold. A cold is usually not contagious after the first week. Cold symptoms usually start about two or three days after you came in contact with the virus, although it could take up to a week for the symptoms to manifest.

Fortunately, common colds are usually harmless and do not last too long.

Is there a cure for the common cold?

There are methods for preventing colds and for treating colds; however, despite all the advances in medical science, there is still no cure for the common cold. There are no vaccinations available for it, and even antibiotics cannot help, since antibiotics have no effect against viral infections.

There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses. The term rhinoviruscomes from the Greek word rhin, meaning “nose,” which make perfect sense, since a cold is a viral infectious disease that primarily affects the nose.

Recent studies have revealed that the protein shell of the cold virus varies between different strains of the virus. This means that inventing a universal medicine to tackle all forms of the cold virus will be extremely difficult.

Some of the symptoms of the common cold include a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, a sore throat, coughing, a headache, and muscle aches.

The Cold Count

There are over
one billion
in the United States each year!

Prevention of
and Treatment
for a Cold

Prevention:Washing your hands is often the simplest and best way to prevent yourself from catching a cold. Not touching your nose or eyes is another way. Since cold viruses can survive for up to three hours outside the nasal passages on inanimate objects and skin, cleaning environmental surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant helps prevent the spread of infection.

Treatment:Treatments for the common cold include bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, and taking aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve a headache or fever. Nonprescription cold remedies, including decongestants and cough suppressants, may relieve some cold symptoms but will not prevent, cure, or even shorten the duration of the illness.

with Age

As you get older, you catch colds less often than you did as a child, because you develop immunity to many of the viruses that cause common colds.

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