Common Cold, Cure

It may not be a good idea for medical science to try to cure the common cold.   The human body's various defensive systems need to practice, in order to be ready for serious infections and diseases.   The body has the opportunities for practicing and developing such methods and systems during minor colds and infections.

In addition, whatever method medical science tries to use, whether by medicine or otherwise, such procedures may have other detrimental effects.   In the same way that overuse of antibiotics has inspired the new emergence of resistant bacteria and microbes, a similar effect might occur regarding any method of trying to eliminate the common cold.

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Modern science and modern medicine both claim that they will soon cure the common cold. I have considerable doubt whether they can actually achieve such a result, but if they do develop that ability, it is extremely important for us to not use it!

Such scientists and doctors are being short-sighted, just looking for immediate benefits, without considering the long term consequences of their actions.

Yes, they would alleviate a lot of discomfort if they could achieve this.   But there are long term consequences that are very dire.

Each of us has a complex system of immunity built into our body.   This system, as every other body function, must be "exercised" from time to time.   Just as we must use our muscles, or else have them atrophy into very weak devices, it is critically necessary to allow our body's defense system to "practice" at reacting to such invaders as cold germs and viruses.   If we chemically accomplish those defense roles, then the immune system will lose it "tone" and then be less prepared when some new invader appears.

The equivalent would be, after breaking a shin bone, to forever have a cast supporting that part of the body.   Even in a few weeks, the muscles in the area degrade tremendously.   If continued for months or years, they would nearly disappear entirely.   Even the bone structure would not re-develop virtually the original strength at the break locus, and the bone itself would become more fragile.

Modern doctors would never keep such a cast on any longer than absolutely necessary, because of concerns about such degradation.

Our immune system equally needs to be exercised, by practicing its reactions to relatively innocuous invaders.   Without such practice, it will be significantly unprepared when it actually becomes needed.   At that point, the body will have virtually no defense at all, which would certainly have very grave results.

It is important to allow our bodies to respond naturally to such minor illnesses, as well as minor infections and minor injuries.

If we proceed to the point of having doctors prescribe medicine and or treatment for every minor cold, that individual body will eventually become susceptible to the first illness not treatable by present methods and medicines. We have witnessed a similar effect in the reduced effectiveness of antibiotics, due to extreme repetitive applications of them. At least in those cases, the body still had its own immune system to fall back on. If we incapacitate that immune system, then even very minor illnesses will kill many people.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

July, 1995

Addendum of October, 2001

In the past several years, it has become clearer that the massive use of antibiotics for so many minor illnesses has contributed toward the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This presents yet more reason for allowing our bodies to deal with most mild infections and illnesses naturally. Otherwise, we will arrive at a time when most colds might be treated chemically, but the occasional one that would resist such treatment would then occur and would always be fatal. That doesn't seem like a very attractive goal to strive for!

There have been some individuals, notably Howard Hughes and Michael Jackson, who have gone to extremes to avoid being exposed to common germs. Given the above thoughts, that may be a very poor idea! After a number of months of remaining in his "antiseptic" room, it seems likely that Mr. Hughes natural immune reactions must have become severely degraded, and my guess is that he was eventually extremely susceptible to serious illness from even the most mundane of germs.

Addendum of December, 2005

Recent National news reports are announcing that American children "may be too clean!" The news segments discuss the anti-bacterial soaps and skin cleansings and showers being so often that kids now are susceptible to much more serious illnesses when they become ill. The researchers are suspecting that it is because their immune systems have not been allowed to build up immunities to many common colds and mild illnesses. This is VERY close to what I have been trying to describe for ten years!


Addendum of October, 2009

As the swine flu is spreading, it has become noted that teenagers and children seem to be dying from it far more than other age groups. Experts are saying this is due to children not yet having had enough experiences with conventional colds and flus to have built up a very extensive immune system. That is very much the theme of this presentation which I composed more than 11 years earlier! They also announce that elderly people seem to have great resistance to such contagions, again, for the same reason, that elderly people have encountered a large number of colds and flus during their lifetime and so their immune system has built up many capabilities of defense against unexpected diseases.

This presentation was first placed in the Internet in May 1998.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago