Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Re: No...


Bob, I think you could benefit from taking a basic microbiology class - it would answer many questions for you.  Humans should come with an owners manual.

"colds" in the main are not of bacterial origin, they are viral.  Most of us here are of an age where we have been vaccinated against (or have access to vaccines for), or actually survived  the most common lethal viruses,(polio, smallpox, diptheria, measles, chickenpox {the herpes family}, petussis, yellow fever, now maybe even Ebola and Malaria, but

1)there are a gajillion viruses out there as they mutate fairly quickly (Swine flu, anyone?)
2) we are still learning about them - we have some antivirals, but at this stage they are still more symptom relievers than 'cures'.
3)viruses can live in your body for your entire life. (sorry!)

Two fairly common viruses are rhinoviruses (aka the 'common'cold) and noroviruses (stomach flu), both of these may be easily 'caught' by the virus becoming aerosolized.  The droplets in a sneeze can travel something like 20 feet...

In the winter - centralized hot air ...virus carrier.  In the Spring/Summer - open windows improve air circulation ...and carry viruses.  

Additionally, many people have environmental allergies (dust mites, hay fever, molds, grasses, trees, pollen and flowers) that activate your immune system and give you symptoms similar to a 'cold'.  Sadly, the body has a finite number of immune responses and can not tell you exactly why you have a sore throat.

The bacteria that live in your body (and there are, once again, a gajillion of them) do not need to 'mutate' to make you ill, they just need an opportunity to proliferate to numbers more than your immune system can handle, or be transported to an environment that doesn't have resources against them.  

Escherichia coli (e.coli to most people) lives in your colon and makes lots of Vitamin K to help you clot when you get a boo-boo, and then is evacuated from your body. Its a symbiotic relationship.  If it ever gets in your blood stream, it has a good chance of killing you.

On Tue May 9, Bob Bridges wrote
>Coïcidentally, the weather here in NC unexpectedly turned cool again a week or so ago and is projected to continue cool for a while longer.  I've long observed that when the weather changes, either hot or cold, sicknesses abound, mostly ordinary colds as far as I can tell.  I just started a sore throat late yesterday, so it's on my mind.

>But I got to thinking: My body, I gather, is able mostly to protect me from organisms it's encountered in the past; it's the new mutations that I catch.  Right?  So how does this match up to the observation that sicknesses increase when the weather changes?  Are we to believe that new bacteria appear at such times?  And if so, why?

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