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Thread: How exactly does the body "catch a cold"?

  1. #1 How exactly does the body "catch a cold"? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Was rafting the other day and managed to catch a cold, been sick for days and it got me wondering...

    How exactly does the body "catch a cold"? Is it really "being sick" or is it some form of body repair self defense mechanism?

    I mean... you get get very cold (Obviously) and the body responds with slight fever, mild headache and a running nose? The body is cold abit. In my case swimming 200 meters in 7 degrees water (In wet suit) and I got it. But why would the body react in this weird way. No damage is done, youre only abit cold. And the usual symptoms arrive.

    Edit: Just doesent make any sense imo. If its a disease, then the bodily reaction of cold doesent make any sense. Neither does it make any more if its some sort of defense mechanism.


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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Being cold and tired (or depressed, malnourished, ill for some other reason, etc) reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. This allows the cold virus (which is always around) to multiply. The symptoms you feel are mainly the immune system trying to destroy the virus.


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    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick answer strange.

    I never realized the cold was actually a virus. I always thought that it was an illness that the body got in reaction to cold (Temperature) itself.
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  5. #4  
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    Hi Raziell,

    You don't catch the common cold by merely being physically cold! It requires transmission of a human Rhinovirus by aerosol or direct-contact routes.

    Best wishes,

    Tridimity

    Rhinovirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Common cold - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  6. #5  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    I always thought that it was an illness that the body got in reaction to cold (Temperature) itself.
    I guess that idea is the reason for the name (it is called a 'wind' in Japanese for the same reason).
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tridimity View Post
    Hi Raziell,

    You don't catch the common cold by merely being physically cold! It requires transmission of a human Rhinovirus by aerosol or direct-contact routes.

    Best wishes,

    Tridimity

    Rhinovirus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Common cold - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Thanks for your reply aswell. The bolded part makes me feel as if I were a child sitting on your lap as you were saying it (As in "No no silly!" In an adorable way)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    I always thought that it was an illness that the body got in reaction to cold (Temperature) itself.
    I guess that idea is the reason for the name (it is called a 'wind' in Japanese for the same reason).
    Epilepsy is called the "Divine disease" isnt it? I could make some horribly bad joke about being nicknamed Kamikaze for being an epileptic with a cold but I would only make a fool of myself.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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    It's why teachers, childcare workers and parents are more likely to 'catch' colds than the rest of the population. They are constantly exposed to overlapping waves of a whole variety of viruses - which children are more susceptible to in the first place because of their immature immune systems.

    The adults who work and live with children are healthy most of the time, because of their mature immune systems. And then one day .... they get tired by a late night or stressed at work or physically stressed by cold exposure and whammo! One of the viruses that their body's been competently fending off for days or weeks gets its chance. Misery ensues.
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    Thanks for your reply aswell. The bolded part makes me feel as if I were a child sitting on your lap as you were saying it (As in "No no silly!" In an adorable way)
    Ha ha ha
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  10. #9  
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    The best way to avoid colds is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose and mouth. Studies have shown that the most common route of infection is by you transfering the virus from some environmental surface to your own naso pharynx on your hands.
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    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    Yeah Sealeaf, you are probably right as the most common entry means. Why, I wonder have we as an organism, not built a stronger defence system against this common affliction.? westwind.
    Words words words, were it better I caught your tears, and washed my face in them, and felt their sting. - westwind
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  12. #11  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by westwind View Post
    Why, I wonder have we as an organism, not built a stronger defence system against this common affliction.? westwind.
    We have a very good defence system. After all, people rarely die of the common cold. But in the continuous arms race, the cold virus's main weapon is its ability to mutate rapidly. This means that it very quickly produces a new strain which your immune system cannot (immediately) recognize.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    In case you were wondering, the flu is also caused by a virus, the Influenza virus.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Hehe, so why is there a bacteria named after the influenza virus? H.Influenzae has comparable symptoms.. hehe..

    This common cold, is btw called catching a cold, because our skin receptors feel the air temperature difference between inside the top layer of the skin, with the outside of the skin. The cold makes us fevorous, and this heats us up, and especially the top layer of the skin. With the bigger temperature difference now with the outside, we feel cold..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The only exercise I get these days is when my nose runs.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Clicking your mouse, or hitting keys is also exercise. If done competitively..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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