Cause and cure for the common cold

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What do you think causes the common cold?

It is caused by a virus, possibly passed from person to person.
54
96%
It is the body's natural response to the dropping temperature.
2
4%
 
Total votes: 56

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meic
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby meic » 28 Feb 2012, 12:53pm

Horizon said
Common sense and experience tells me that cold symptoms are a pretty straightforward human response to changing environmental conditions. The nice thing with this view is that you no longer have to worry about catching a cold from someone else!


I think Karl is either arguing against the evidence or on a point of semantics.


from his own references
Can a chill cause a cold?

Folklore indicates that chilling such as getting your feet wet in winter and going out with wet hair may cause a common cold but until recently there has been no scientific research to support this idea. Recent research has demonstrated that chilling may cause the onset of common cold symptoms5. A study at the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff UK in 2005 took 90 students and chilled their feet in cold water for 20 minutes and showed that the chilled group had twice as many colds over the next 5 days as a control group of 90 students whose feet were not chilled. The authors propose that when colds are circulating in the community some persons carry the virus without symptoms and that chilling the feet causes a constriction of blood vessels in the nose and this inhibits the immune response and defences in the nose and allows the virus to replicate and cause cold symptoms. The chilled person believes they have caught a cold but in fact the virus was already present in the nose but not causing symptoms.


Also it said that the cold virus is so common amongst the population that it can be taken as given that you will be exposed to it.

So to the people experiencing it you start to suffer from a cold after you undergo an exposure to cold conditions.
Now if to an educated medical professional this is not the same thing as catching a cold due to cold conditions then let them "win the argument" even if they are completely misleading with their statement.
Yma o Hyd

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Audax67
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby Audax67 » 28 Feb 2012, 1:21pm

For everyone knows a Pobble's toes
Are safe as long as his nose is warm.

- Ed Lear.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

karlt
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby karlt » 28 Feb 2012, 2:00pm

meic wrote:Horizon said
Common sense and experience tells me that cold symptoms are a pretty straightforward human response to changing environmental conditions. The nice thing with this view is that you no longer have to worry about catching a cold from someone else!


I think Karl is either arguing against the evidence or on a point of semantics.


from his own references
Can a chill cause a cold?

Folklore indicates that chilling such as getting your feet wet in winter and going out with wet hair may cause a common cold but until recently there has been no scientific research to support this idea. Recent research has demonstrated that chilling may cause the onset of common cold symptoms5. A study at the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff UK in 2005 took 90 students and chilled their feet in cold water for 20 minutes and showed that the chilled group had twice as many colds over the next 5 days as a control group of 90 students whose feet were not chilled. The authors propose that when colds are circulating in the community some persons carry the virus without symptoms and that chilling the feet causes a constriction of blood vessels in the nose and this inhibits the immune response and defences in the nose and allows the virus to replicate and cause cold symptoms. The chilled person believes they have caught a cold but in fact the virus was already present in the nose but not causing symptoms.


Also it said that the cold virus is so common amongst the population that it can be taken as given that you will be exposed to it.

So to the people experiencing it you start to suffer from a cold after you undergo an exposure to cold conditions.
Now if to an educated medical professional this is not the same thing as catching a cold due to cold conditions then let them "win the argument" even if they are completely misleading with their statement.


I think they'd say that you caught the cold because of the virus, and were predisposed to it by the cold conditions weakening your immune system. The point is that without the virus you CANNOT catch a cold; without cold conditions it is perfectly possible to, even if it hadn't happened in this case.

alanesq
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby alanesq » 28 Feb 2012, 2:41pm

this is the 21st century - surely we are passed the point now where anyone can seriously question the germ theory of disease ????

if you get a cold science can not only tell you what virus is causing you illness but it can sequence its entire rna/dna for you if you want and explain exactly how it works.....

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Audax67
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby Audax67 » 28 Feb 2012, 3:02pm

Having seen three pages on a topic that was done & dusted 50 years ago, I'm not surprised that people can be put off vaccination by anecdotes. It reminds me of Terry Downes comment after losing a fight in Italy when everyone watching had scored a points victory for him: "You have to knock them out to get a draw."

Take following three times a day after meals:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMvMb90hem8
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meic
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby meic » 28 Feb 2012, 3:06pm

alanesq wrote:this is the 21st century - surely we are passed the point now where anyone can seriously question the germ theory of disease ????

if you get a cold science can not only tell you what virus is causing you illness but it can sequence its entire rna/dna for you if you want and explain exactly how it works.....


Yes but we were discussing the "if you get a cold" bit.
As these viruses are pretty much omnipresent that part of the "germ theory" is of no practical use to anybody. To quote it as an answer to the original problem is missing the point or scientific smugness.
Yma o Hyd

alanesq
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby alanesq » 28 Feb 2012, 3:22pm

meic wrote:Yes but we were discussing the "if you get a cold" bit.
As these viruses are pretty much omnipresent that part of the "germ theory" is of no practical use to anybody. To quote it as an answer to the original problem is missing the point or scientific smugness.


not really sure I understand what you are saying?

if you mean because cold viruses are all around all the time then how do we not have a cold all the time?
there are lots of reasons why you can be exposed to a virus and not become ill - it can end up in your stomach and not manage to infect you, you can already have an immunity to it (the cold virus is continually adapting /altering in a never ending battle with our immune systems so it has to be a variety you have not had before or it will just be destroyed)

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horizon
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby horizon » 28 Feb 2012, 4:09pm

The vote is now 27:1. Does that mean that the person who originally voted for the second option has removed their vote - I didn't know you could do that!
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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Audax67
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby Audax67 » 28 Feb 2012, 4:12pm

meic wrote:As these viruses are pretty much omnipresent that part of the "germ theory" is of no practical use to anybody. To quote it as an answer to the original problem is missing the point or scientific smugness.


And in any case the viruses "aren't around all the time".

Wiki states that: "adults have 2 to 5 colds/year". Median is 3.5.

Formally, the contagious period lasts as long as the virus is present in nasal secretions, but most people stop sneezing after two or three days and you won't catch their cold unless you come into contact with their ejecta by other means, e,g, shaking hands or objects they have touched with the virus on their hands within the last 3 hours. Let's say that they're dangerous for a week.

That means that one person is dangerous for about 25 days/year, i.e. around 7% of the time. Turning that on its head, 7% of the adult population have a cold at any given time - around one in fourteen.

The viruses don't live long outside the body; they live around 3 hours even on skin.

So to catch your cold, you have to be in contact with one of those 14 people.

And then, as Alan says, even if the virus crosses to you it might not land in the right place.

And even if it does then, the conditions for it to take root might not by favourable. And that's where low temperatures come in.

However, you don't have to get cold. The virus evolved to suit the normal temperature of the nose, so you can catch one even if you don't get cold.

So with your "cold weather causes colds" you're taking just one factor out of three, and you're taking the least important at that.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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meic
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby meic » 28 Feb 2012, 8:46pm

As a scientist, I dont get swayed by theories that ignore empirical evidence.
I am not particularly arguing that cold weather makes you directly more susceptible to colds, so I am not arguing about any of the details of that case.
The point I am making is that there is an observed increase in susceptibility to colds when people have had their immune system compromised, eg by dipping feet in cold water, running marathons or riding Audaxes.
Which isnt explained away by the past two posts, which postulate theories denying that it happens.

In my personal case, colds are made dangerous to me if I ride in cold conditions as that will lead to a throat infection, which leads to blood poisoning. That only happens in very cold temperatures and consistently happens in cold temperatures.
Yma o Hyd

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horizon
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby horizon » 2 Mar 2012, 12:28am

karlt wrote:Bunch of references down here http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/biosi/subsites ... ncold.html for you to follow up. The probability has to be against you - ask yourself "is it more likely that I'm right and the entire medical and scientific establishment is wrong, or the other way around?"


Many thanks for that karlt. There are lots of interesting things to follow up. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about this extract from the webpage you linked to:

Despite the fact that very few of us escape from at least a couple of common cold infections each year, common cold viruses are not very contagious. Under laboratory conditions when healthy volunteers are kept with others who are suffering from common cold infections it has proven remarkably difficult to spread infection from one person to another.


That's from Andrewes C. The Common Cold. New York: Norton, 1965:187.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

karlt
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby karlt » 2 Mar 2012, 9:18am

horizon wrote:
karlt wrote:Bunch of references down here http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/biosi/subsites ... ncold.html for you to follow up. The probability has to be against you - ask yourself "is it more likely that I'm right and the entire medical and scientific establishment is wrong, or the other way around?"


Many thanks for that karlt. There are lots of interesting things to follow up. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about this extract from the webpage you linked to:

Despite the fact that very few of us escape from at least a couple of common cold infections each year, common cold viruses are not very contagious. Under laboratory conditions when healthy volunteers are kept with others who are suffering from common cold infections it has proven remarkably difficult to spread infection from one person to another.


That's from Andrewes C. The Common Cold. New York: Norton, 1965:187.


It means that you're not automatically going to get a cold because someone else has one. It's a dice roll - roll a 1 on a twenty sided die and you get it; any thing else and you make your saving throw.

Of course, over the course of a year you get lots of rolls of the die.

alanesq
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby alanesq » 4 Mar 2012, 3:26pm

I think there is come confusion here:

The answer to "what is the cause of the common cold" is obviously that you have a cold virus reproducing in your cells etc., this is what having a cold means (although I guess most people would take it to mean you are also suffering the classic cold symptoms from this)

but, I think the question being addressed here is more what causes you to be more likely to catch the cold - which is a different question all together
i.e. what causes the cold and how/why you caught it are two very different questions

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horizon
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby horizon » 4 Mar 2012, 11:00pm

alanesq: I just wanted to stay with the contagion aspect a bit longer. Here are two quotes from the webpage that karlt kindly provided:

Common cold is the most common disease

Common cold infections are so widespread that there can be very few humans who escape infection each year and most will suffer multiple infections. It has been estimated that adults suffer 2 to 5 colds per year, and school children may suffer 7 to 10 colds per year.


Common cold viruses are not very contagious

Despite the fact that very few of us escape from at least a couple of common cold infections each year, common cold viruses are not very contagious. Under laboratory conditions when healthy volunteers are kept with others who are suffering from common cold infections it has proven remarkably difficult to spread infection from one person to another.


I'm still having trouble with these two quotes. A not unreasonable conclusion is that a lot of people are not catching their colds from each other.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

De Sisti
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Re: Cause and cure for the common cold

Postby De Sisti » 7 Mar 2012, 9:18pm

eileithyia wrote:...and remember all those nasties are left on door handles etc., indeed anywhere that people touch after they have sneezed into their hand and/or wiped their nose on tissues etc.


Why do people sneeze and cough into their hands? I was also told to do it into your (bent) arm, away from others.