North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

March 11, 2009

A vaccine for colds would be almost impossible to create

Health Watch By Steve Mullenix

The North Jefferson News




Although the flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, they caused by different viruses.

Because they have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell them apart, but generally cold symptoms are much milder than flu.

The common cold symptoms include: sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, cough, and mild fever, the flu on the other hand, often causes higher fever, chills, body aches and fatigue.

You may be asking if there is a flu vaccine, why is there not a cold vaccine? The common cold can be caused by over 250 different viruses. It would be difficult if not impossible to develop a vaccine to protect against that many different viruses. Also, there is less need for a cold vaccine, since colds are minor infections and normally go away without serious complications.

As you have heard so many times before, “There is NO Cure for the common cold.” The most important thing is to drink a lot of fluids and keep your body hydrated. This helps prevent another infection from setting in. Chicken soup is comforting, plus the steam helps break up nasal congestion.

Over-the-counter cold medications can offer relief from aches and fever, however some in the medical community no longer believe in suppressing low-grade fever, except in the very young, very old or in people with certain medical conditions such as heart or lung disease.

Low-grade fevers help the body fight off infection by suppressing the growth of viruses or bacteria and by activating the immune system.

Common over-the-counter medications used in the treatment of the common cold are often effective in the relief of symptoms, but do nothing to shorten the duration of the illness.

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