Little fun with colds.
Interestingly - our body's reaction to a cold virus is really the disease. You see, its a fairly broadly accepted fact that the human immune system can in fact combat affectively in excess of 90% of common cold viruses without ever needing to make us "feel" sick. Rather our slew of horrendous symptoms we identify with a cold are nothing more than our body's overreacting.
Here is some interesting info from New Scientist Magazine I enjoyed.
Viruses that break through our defenses usually start replicating in the cells lining the throat, which is why you fell irritation and pain there first. Sore throats often feel as if the very tissue is being destroyed, but this is seldom happens with a cold. Rather, the symptoms are caused by the chemical alarm signals released by immune cells when they detect viruses. The alarm molecules trigger local inflammation and also stimulate sensory nerves, producing the feeling of pain and sneezing.
The most important of the immune signals, or cytokines, is called interferon. It triggers headaches, fatigue, loss of apatite, malaise, nausea, depression and even muscle pain, caused by wastage, which happens a little even with a mild cold.
A day or two later, these early symptoms are followed by a runny nose as the inflammation response spreads. It starts as watery discharge due to tiny blood vessels exuding the watery part of the blood. Then glands in your nose start producing mucus to wash out virus particles. If the mucus turns green, its a sign not of bacterial infection - as some doctors think - but that here are lots of white blood cells in it, which carry green iron-containing catalysts for destroying germs.
During this process, the veins in the nose lining dilate. This, not snot, is the main reason for the congestion that makes breathing difficult. Autonomic nerves ensure that the veins in each nostril dilate alternately, about every three minuets, to prevent complete blockage. The tear ducts and sinus passages also become inflamed make your sinuses hurt and your eyes water.
If the inflammation reaches deep parts of your throat, it triggers coughing. Its the same response as if something where stuck in your throat. In this case, though, coughing serves no useful purpose, unless the inflammation spreads even deeper into the bronchi, and you cough up the mucus.
It seems the body's own cure for a cold is not so much worse than the disease, it is the disease.
#sick #flu #cold #science #commoncold #education