Is there a bug going around?

In the 21st century, it is still a common belief that due to obscure events or bad luck “we catch a cold” or that “there is a bug going around.”

This social programming never stops to amaze me.  In 1976 it was the “swine flu”, 1981 the “asian flu” 1987 the “korean flu”, 1998 the “bird flu” all the way from Hong Kong, recently the “mexican flu” and who knows what the  year 2025 will bring along…

You don’t “catch” a cold nor is the “bug going around” in the sense that the normally virus-free body suddenly becomes overwhelmed by a virulent horde of invading microbes.

Cold viruses are a ubiquitous as the air we breathe.  They live in the healthy mouth, sinuses and throat tissues, which usually protect the body from viral attack.  The tissues are coved with microscopic hairs called cilia and a thin blanket of mucus.  The moist mucus traps the virus particle, like flypaper, and its mildly acidic chemical composition blocks their reproduction long enough for the cilia to sweep them into the stomach where powerful digestive acids kill them.

The micro-ecology of the healthy throat also involves subtle interactions between body temperature and blood flow that reinforce the area’s anti-viral mission.

Amazing isn’t it?

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