The beginning of the cold season is heralded by the sounds of coughs and sneezes on buses and trains. Caused by several different strains of virus, the cold is spread rapidly through the air and by close personal contact. While unpleasant, the common cold is little more than a passing nuisance for most people.
Each year in the UK there are millions of cases of the common cold. The average adult will suffer 2-3 colds per year, and children even more. The virus is everywhere and, for most of us, unavoidable. According to The Scientist, rhinoviruses are undoubtably the quickest spreading viruses via infection on the planet.
No-one knows where the virus originated, but many scientists believe it came from birds. While the cause of was identified in the 1950s, the disease has been traced back to ancient Egyptian times. It is also mentioned in the oldest existing medical text, dating back to 16th century BCE. The name 'cold' came into use in the 16th century, due to the fact the symptoms were similar to those experienced in cold weather.
Is there a cure?
The Common Cold Unit was launched by the Medical Research Council in the 1946 and it was here the rhiono virus was first discovered. While research took place, there was little success in finding a cure and the unit was closed in 1989. With no real cure in sight, over-the-counter cold and cough remedies can at least relieve symptoms. Drinking plenty of fluids, resting and using steam to clear out the nasal passages can also help.
Can you avoid the common cold?
New research suggests that the virus thrives in cold conditions. These findings might just back up old wives' tale telling us to wrap up warm when going out in cold weather.
You can also use common sense precautions to reduce the spread. Most viruses are transmitted by touch, so frequent hand washing can help. Germs often lurk on household objects so disinfecting commonly touched areas such as telephones, remote controls, doorknobs and kitchen surfaces may help to combat the virus
Medical research has eradicated many of the world's deadliest diseases, but it seems we are destined to live with the humble common cold. There are so many strains of cold virus, it is almost impossible to develop a vaccine, but you can certainly protect yourself against more serious illness with life insurance policy. Critical Illness cover can be found at http://www.mwgb.co.uk.
While coughing and sneezing is no fun, the humble cold is not high on the list of diseases that need curing and it seems we might be destined to put up with it. While a cold it can be dangerous for some, for most of us it is little more than a minor ailment that will pass in a few days. By all means put your feet up and enjoy a day home from work, but don't expect a cure any time soon!