A cold is an infection of the upper respiratory system caused by one of about 200 viruses.1,5 The flu is also an upper respiratory illness caused by one of several specific flu viruses.6 Given all these different sources, it’s no wonder we don’t have a remedy for common cold—or flu. Instead, it’s up to your immune system to help fight back.
How Your Body Fights Off Cold and Flu
Colds and flu are among the most common human ailments; adults suffer two or three colds per year on average,1 while children can get two to nine colds per year.2,3,4 Luckily, your body naturally has ways to fight off cold and flu viruses—and get you back to health with the right cold and flu remedy.
The Immunity Challenge
How a Virus “Thinks”
How Your Body Fights Back Against Cold and Flu Viruses
Making Sense of Your Flu Symptoms
Turner, R.B. The common cold. In: Mandell, G.L., Bennett, J.E., Dolin, R., eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009: Chap 53.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Publication “Rhinitis vs Sinusitis in Children” 2009. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/campaign-materials/info-sheets/child-rhin-vs-sinus.html. Accessed 12 January 2012.
National Institutes of Health (NIH). Common Cold. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000678.htm. Accessed 27 May 2010.
Eccles, R. Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza. Lancet Infect Dis. 2005 Nov;5(11):718-725. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16253889.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIAID). Flu (Influeza). Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/influenza. Accessed 12 Nov 2011.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NIAID Science Education. Understanding the Immune System: How It Works. NIH Publication No. 07-5423. September 2007:1, 25. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/immunesystem/Pages/features.aspx. Accessed 11 Nov 2011.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. NIAID Science Education. Understanding Microbes in Sickness and in Health. NIH Publication No. 09-4914. September 2009. Available at: https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/562d25c6/files/uploaded/Understanding%20Microbes_In%20Sickness%20and%20in%20Health_2006.pdf. Accessed 14 Nov 2011.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Publication “Common Cold and Runny Nose.” Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/colds.html. Accessed 14 Nov 2011.