By LARRY JONES
I’ve heard several women during my lifetime make snide comments about what a bunch of crybabies we big tough men become when we’re sick. Maybe, it’s because the bigger you are, the sicker you become. One thing I know with absolute certainty is that at this very moment in time as I pound away on my keyboard, I am sicker than a dog with what may be my last case of the crud. Not unlike all the other really rotten bad colds I’ve had in the past, I don’t see how I can possibly survive this one.
It’s amazing how such a tiny little critter, the virus for the common cold, can wreak such havoc on a normally healthy body millions of times larger. Viruses are the most abundant biological entity on the face of the earth, and they may be the most deadly. Averaging between 20 to 80 nanometers in diameter, almost all are too small to be seen with a normal optical microscope, but they pack a mighty punch.
The common cold, like its name infers, is the most common illness of mankind. Typically, each one of us will have an annual cold. Many will have two or more. Countless man-hours and productivity are lost each year because of this malady, yet with all the research and medical advances of the past century or so, we can’t find a cure for it.
Despite no cure for the cold being available, we have a range of treatment options. In fact, even though none of them will cure it, Americans spend close to $40 billion (with a “B”) annually on cold remedies and medications. These medicines primarily treat and help relieve the symptoms, although some such as zinc supplements are purported to cut the duration and severity of the illness.