The Uncommon Life of the Common Cold

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jennifer Ackerman explains what a cold is, how it works, and sifts through all the treatments—what works, what doesn't, and what can't hurt. In Ah-choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold, she looks at what scientists have learned over the past decade about cold viruses, what they do to the human body, and how symptoms can be addressed, and looks at current research, in the hopes of finding a cure for the common cold.


Jennifer Ackerman

Comments [21]

DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

Suffering from my y early cold and sinus
infection, I was shopping at Trader Joe's
on 14th Street. Among the items that I
bought was a juice made up of 3 ingredients,
Lemon Ginger Echinacea.
I went to bed with the cold, sinus symptoms
and had made an appointment with my Dr.
Kavets, at Boro Medical.
When I woke up the next day, I could breathe,
normally, my sinus and cold symtoms had

Now, when I feel a cold or a sinus
infection coming on, I take Echinacea,
that I bought in Vitamine Shop.
Echinacea 400 mg.

At work, everyone around me is sick
with cold symptoms, packets of kleenex,
cold medications, eveywhere.

But I am not sick.
I have no sinus infection, no cold symptoms,
that last more than 1 day.
I used to get migraine headaches, so severe,
that Dr. Kavets sent me to a headache
clnic, after Imitrex didn't work for long.
In NYC, there was a store called
Healthy Pleasures, I told the Indian man,
there what my symptoms were and
he recommended Tumeric Extract and
I have never gotten another migraine,
cluster headache, not for years.
If I feel that halo thing coming on,
I take Tumeric Extract and Magnesium
and the headache vanishes.
That has been my experience.

Oct. 11 2010 02:33 PM
Liz from Manhattan

I have been told that desolving an asperin,in warm salt water, and gargling, helps to get rid of a cold by reducing inflammation, as well as alleviating symptoms. Is there any truth to this. Will it help to cold to go away faster?

Oct. 11 2010 12:35 PM
Rod from NYC

why do some people get colds every year, some dont ever seem to get a cold?

Oct. 11 2010 12:30 PM

In the past there have been populations that were devastated by the cold. Native Americans suffered horribly from the cold imported by Europeans.

Is that still the case today?

Oct. 11 2010 12:30 PM

i drive a school bus and definitly got a cold from the kids, i seem to be getting better when would the best time to return to work, will i get a cold again

Oct. 11 2010 12:30 PM
Arnold from West orange, NJ

My mother would say that it best to drink lots of hot water with a tsp of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey to treat a cold. Any validity to this?

Oct. 11 2010 12:29 PM
Mickie T from Queens

Yes, snorting salt water is very helpful to clear up nasal passages. Not sure it shortens the cold, but it unclogs your nose. Much cheaper than buying a "saline spray" from the drug store.

Oct. 11 2010 12:29 PM
Linda from Nassau County

In an office, the telephone handset is one of the worst offenders in terms of germ transmission. Spraying or wiping with an antibacterial surface cleaner after each use, makes a difference.

Oct. 11 2010 12:28 PM
katie from Brooklyn

I find it incredible that the guest did not acknowledge that the pharmaceutical industry has an enormous financial disincentive to cure the common cold. Cold remedies are obviously a billion dollar a year industry, and an effective vaccine would put an end to that. Compare HPV, which also has over 100 virus strains, but the industry was only too happy to create a series of vaccines that target the 4 most common strains.

Oct. 11 2010 12:26 PM
Amy from New york

A nurse once told me to use Alkalol as a gargle and in a netipot to flush out the nasal passage. Does this work? I have tried it and it seems it just prolongs the inception.


Oct. 11 2010 12:24 PM
Sally Faye from LES

What a coincidence it is Columbus day! Can you ask your guest how fast the common cold/flu infected the native American population after this historical date?

Oct. 11 2010 12:23 PM
Mickie T from Queens

I'm just getting over a cold, and 50 mg of zinc twice a day reduced the severity dramatically, and it was over in 5 days instead of the usual 7 days.

Oct. 11 2010 12:22 PM
Mickie T from Queens

If you suffer from hayfever or allergies to flowers, DO NOT TAKE echinacea! You're just ingesting something that you're allergic to! Once a doctor explained this to me, I finally realized why echinacea made me feel worse.

Oct. 11 2010 12:21 PM
Alex Funaro from DC

I've heard there are studies that suggest taking Zinc at the onset will result in a quicker resolution. True?

Oct. 11 2010 12:20 PM
Mickie T from Queens

If you suffer from hayfever or allergies to flowers, DO NOT TAKE echinacea! You're just ingesting something that you're allergic to! Once a doctor explained this to me, I finally realized why echinacea made me feel worse.

Oct. 11 2010 12:20 PM
Arnold from West orange, NJ

Are surgical masks effective in preventing and spreading colds? In china this seems to be a common practice.

Oct. 11 2010 12:19 PM
Diana from New York

I have failed with echinacea but I could swear by cold-eeze (not just zinc, which I have also tried, but the actual lozenges). I take them when I feel a sore throat announcing a cold, and the throat gets better and the cold is milder (I am comparing with what used to happen with me, without the lozenges I used to get a full blown throat infection). Is there any evidence for these lozenges?

Oct. 11 2010 12:19 PM
Maddy from alberston, li

I too got many colds as a kid but after about 25 or so (now late 50s), I got colds much less frequently and some winters none at all. Can you say why that may have happened?

Oct. 11 2010 12:18 PM

what kinds of environments do cold viruses thrive in or have problems with?

Oct. 11 2010 12:18 PM
Laura from Murray Hill

I may have missed it, but why is it that one feels very cold and shivery when one actually has a fever?

Oct. 11 2010 12:15 PM
Patrick Jarkowsky from Hoboken, NJ

Please ask your guest to discuss the common misconception that cold weather causes colds.


Oct. 11 2010 12:11 PM

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