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Thread: question about cold virus

  1. #1 question about cold virus 
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    How do cold viruses work? Everytime I have a cold, I notice there's 3 phases I go through. For the first day, I have this uncomfortable sensation in my nasal cavaty. Then for the next two or three days, I'm totally out of energy and feel like shit generally. Then for the next week or two, I regain my energy but have to deal with a runny nose and a pesky cough.

    At what point has the body "defeated" the virus? Is it when I've regained my energy? Or is it when all the symptoms (runny nose, cough) have dissappeared? Are the symptoms just the body's way of getting rid of dead cells and viruses? Is there a chance, after the two/three days of lethargy, that the virus could regain the upper hand, or is it a certainty that the virus is dead and won't come back again?

    I'll start with these questions, but I have others which I'll ask later.


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    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    I'm not sure about the questions, but it should be stated that a "cold" can be caused by all sorts of different viruses.


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    Forum Junior JennLonhon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    I'm not sure about the questions, but it should be stated that a "cold" can be caused by all sorts of different viruses.
    And because viruses mutate as much as they do, we still don't have a cure for that "common cold", the reactions you have, is actually your immune system fighting the virus. So, yeah, I guess you can consider the virus "defeated", in a way at least, once you loose those symptoms....
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    So, yeah, I guess you can consider the virus "defeated", in a way at least, once you loose those symptoms....
    Ah, but which symptoms? I mean, like I said, I regain my energy long before my nose stops running and I stop coughing. Is the fact that I regain my energy a sign that my body is making progress? Is it a sign of anything?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    The energy thing is likely linked to the fever response, which is part of the early response to viral infection.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10567986

    This article suggest that the runny nose and coughing, don't seem to be responsible for clearing the infection itself, but may protect the effected tissue from reinfection or infection by other respiratory viruses while you're fighting the one you got.

    Edit: The actual fighting of the infected cells is done by TH1 cells.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennLonhon
    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    I'm not sure about the questions, but it should be stated that a "cold" can be caused by all sorts of different viruses.
    And because viruses mutate as much as they do, we still don't have a cure for that "common cold", the reactions you have, is actually your immune system fighting the virus. So, yeah, I guess you can consider the virus "defeated", in a way at least, once you loose those symptoms....
    The reason we don't have a cure for the common cold is because there are many different types of viruses that cause the disease (we know of several hundreds) not because they mutate too fast (Although it is true that viruses mutate faster than other forms of life).


    gib65:
    A cold is basically viruses infecting you nasal cavity. So the viruses go in your nasal cavity, start dividing and kills cells in the process (it hurts). Then your immune system realizes there is an intruder and starts fighting it: you become tired, have a fever and headache perhaps. Whether a runny nose is the result of your immune system kicking the virus out or the virus himself causes this directly I don't know (this could be different from virus to virus). However the end result is that you have a runny nose and the mucus that runs out of your nose is filled with the common cold virus ready to infect someone else.

    As a general rule, once you are done with your fever/being tired, you will only get better from then on. The virus is not gone, it's just that your body is too strong to lose from then on. Technically, it's possible for the virus to regain the advantage but unless you get another (bad) disease or lack of food or something major, your body will win. If you want a more detailed explanation of how your immune system works you can message me but for simplicity just understand that your body has to "build" its army. If a pathogen is gonna win the war its gonna win it before your army is built. Once your army is there, the pathogen will die. Of course there are exceptions to this rule as each pathogen has its own way of fighting your body.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    How come theres a "seasonal progression" each year (flu), and it often comes from China(or does it?) and theres a gradual progression??

    In Canada, I heard the pattern changes a wee bit, sometimes its a bit earlier sometimes its weeks later, but overall its nealry always a progression from the west coast over to the east coast.

    With hollywood movies(I already hear the outcry) like Outbreak and airplanes flying people back and forth all over the globe, a gradual progression is quite counter-intuitive, you would think it would spread to all major airports in the world and then spread from each major urban center to the surrounding regions, but not a west coast to east coast seasonal thing?

    Is any of this accurate, if so, how come?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    How come theres a "seasonal progression" each year (flu), and it often comes from China(or does it?) and theres a gradual progression??

    In Canada, I heard the pattern changes a wee bit, sometimes its a bit earlier sometimes its weeks later, but overall its nealry always a progression from the west coast over to the east coast.

    With hollywood movies(I already hear the outcry) like Outbreak and airplanes flying people back and forth all over the globe, a gradual progression is quite counter-intuitive, you would think it would spread to all major airports in the world and then spread from each major urban center to the surrounding regions, but not a west coast to east coast seasonal thing?

    Is any of this accurate, if so, how come?
    I'm not sure that happens, my understanding of how it functions is that the flu just transmits better during colder weather, because the flu lasts longer in the environment when it's cold. The flu seasons alternate between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere during their respective winters. I don't think you really see a gradual spread, unless you're watching a new strain specifically. What usually happens is that all of a sudden there's a peek incidence rate in the middle of winter, but the flu is always sort of around in lower prevalence.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman Trillian's Avatar
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    You could always prevent the virus from dividing and killing cells in your nasal cavity by utilizing a neti pot, which would flush it out before it got started. Of course, then you would have to know exactly when the virus was introduced to your system, which usually isn't until after you begin to notice symptoms and by then, it is too late. I like to use mine after I have been in a public place or after I am around sick people.

    I was always under the assumption that the spread of seasonal influenza/common cold was partially due to the fact that people remain in close quarters, shut in from fresh air due to the cold climate, which in turn, allows the virus to be transmitted more readily. When the weather is warm, windows are open and air is flowing in and out, people are spending time outdoors rather than being crammed into buildings and homes as a means to escape the frigid environment.
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