The Common Cold

Daniel Lassila


The common cold is a viral infection that affects the nose and throat. Some signs and symptoms include coughing, runny nose, sore throat, and mild fever which will usually last about seven to ten days.


It is estimated that in the course of a year, the citizens of the United States will have collectively suffered under 500 million colds, 62 million of these requiring medical attention or restricting activity, losing us more than 22 million days of school. Studies suggest that an average child will experience from six to ten colds a year, and adults two or three.

Signs & Symptoms



There is no vaccine or cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are of no use and may result in strengthening the virus. Over the counter treatments will often have no effect and most have side effects. The only way to treat the common cold is to focus on individual symptoms. These options being pain relievers, decongestant nasal sprays, and cough syrups. Some swear that chicken soup can help the recovery process, but this has yet to be proven.


The common cold is usually harmless, and most people recover in a week or two. Colds just have to die down over time. Getting rest, avoiding intense activity, and drinking lots of water will aid the recovery immensely.

Personal Statement

The common cold is something almost everyone has had experience with. Most people have had it at least once in their lives. But the economic impact of the cold is huge, resulting in more than 100 million physician visits annually and a conservative cost estimate of $7.7 billion per year. More than one third of these patients received an antibiotic prescription. While these costs are troubling, what is more worrying is the unnecessary overuse of antibiotics resulting in an increased resistance. Eventually we could have bacteria and viruses completely immune to these antibiotics. I chose this topic so that people could be sure whether or not they had something worth seeing a doctor about, or just a cold. This could save money and result in more efficient visits.


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