The Common Cold – The Same the World Over

 Learner  科普

August 31, 2013 by Rob McCormack

There are many things we have in common, whether we come from Australia, India, China, Germany, Brazil or indeed any country in the world. One of those things is getting a cold, a common cold(普通感冒). I’m not talking about influenza (流感), more commonly called the ‘flu’. Flu is a much more serious disease and can affect people very badly, especially the old. The common cold is, by contrast, almost never serious and is the most common disease in people all over the world.

Since I retired in July of 2011, I haven’t had a cold. That’s more than two years. Normally, an adult gets at least one or two colds per year. I certainly did when I was working. So it was great that I had not had a cold for such a long time. However, that ended 2 weeks ago when I got the first signs of a sore throat.

Everyone knows the symptoms of a cold. It starts with that tickle in your throat which becomes a dryness in the throat. Then your throat feels like it has been rubbed with sandpaper. It’s not pleasant. In my case, I started to feel a sore throat coming at around lunchtime. I thought, ahh, I’ll bet this is a cold coming on. For a while, all I had was the sore throat. I was hoping that maybe it would stop there, that all I would get is a sore throat which would be gone in the morning. But by the time I went to bed, at around 10.30pm, I wasn’t feeling very well at all. My body was starting to ache and my throat felt like it was on fire. I woke up next morning and my body was aching even more, my nose had started to run and I had a headache. My sore throat was still there and I was also getting a rasping cough. I knew that it was a cold and that I would just have to wait for it to run its course. My cold lasted about a week, which is the normal period for a cold to last. There is no cure for the common cold. You just have to ‘grin and bear it’ and wait until it passes. We can do some things to make us feel better, although they won’t make the cold go away any faster.

For example, headache tablets will reduce a headache, warm drinks will ease a sore throat and nose drops or spray will help a stuffy nose. I also find that cough lozenges make a sore throat feel a little better.

Here are some facts about the common cold. It is caused by a virus. There are over 200 types of viruses that can cause the common cold, which is why it’s not possible to be immunized (免疫) against a cold. There are just too many virus types to be covered in a single immunization. A person catches a cold when they touch or breathe in the fluid droplets from another person who has a cold. This may happen when you breathe in the air near a person who has coughed or sneezed. You can also get a cold by touching something that has been handled by a person with a cold, like a towel or a railing. Unfortunately the cold virus can survive for many hours in the air or on a surface. So I guess it’s impossible to avoid getting a cold at some time. It is interesting to note how long a person with a cold is infectious. Being infectious means that you can give someone else your cold. A person is infectious for about a day before their symptoms show and about five days after their symptoms start.

While it’s impossible to prevent colds from spreading, we can reduce them by regularly washing our hands. The most common way to get a cold is through your hands touching something with the virus on it, after which you touch your face, mouth or eyes. So washing your hands regularly may help to remove viruses before they get into your body. In some countries, people with colds wear masks to prevent their cold from spreading to others. This can certainly help to reduce the chance of getting or giving a cold, although it is not done very often in Australia.

People usually get colds more often in the winter. This is because we are most often indoors in winter along with other people and we have closer contact with them. Therefore there is more chance of cold viruses spreading.

So with all that in mind, I think I can explain why, after retiring from work, I went for 2 years before I got a cold. It’s just simply that I was not mixing indoors as often with so many other people. So I had less chance of coming into contact with the cold virus. The downside for me has been that I have been mixing with fewer people since I retired. I have actually missed that. Even though there’s a risk of getting a cold, it’s great to be able to mix with, and enjoy the company of, other people. That’s what makes life interesting.


3 条评论:

  1. 王鹏说道:


    1. Learner说道:

      作者 Rob McCormack 从学校毕业后最初的几年是做小学老师的。

    2. Learner说道:





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