Seven Fun Facts – Viral Infections of the Upper Respiratory Tract

I’ve been working till midnight three nights in a row, while simultaneously suffering from a smothering cold that really requires decent sleep. And I’m going away all weekend, so homework is currently preying upon my anxiety. At least in Sixth Form there’s no backlog, because every piece of work is in for the next day.

The common cold is one ailment I just can’t ignore. The monotony of mild headaches and stomach pains can help send me into a trance (good?!); but the constant fluctuations of the common cold manacle one to one’s feeble body.


Is it the comfort and privilege of a middle-class first-world citizen’s life that has let my immune system wane? I know I have many mineral and vitamin deficiencies, but you might expect all the drugs I take for that to help somewhat.



You can almost, almost guarantee that if there’s something going round, I’ll catch it. I won’t take a day off school, because in Year 10 I taught myself that commitment was the most important thing, and a sufficient portion of that mentality remains. But from October 2012 to January 2013 inclusive I was unwell. I got through three packets of tissues a day, rubbed my nose raw to bleeding, destroyed my hearing for months afterward. Standard effects of colds gone overboard.

Ugh. *blows nose* What is up with me?!

But it’s okay. I’ll get over it.

And because I can’t be bothered with essays tonight, here’s some fun facts about the common cold:

  • If you want to get technical, or are bored of people commenting on your ill health, you could call it a ‘viral infection of the upper respiratory tract’. Might as well glory in it, rather than degrading your everything-centric ‘man-flu’ to a mere ‘common cold’.
  • Over two hundred viruses are implicated in the common cold. And whilst it’s said due to your B-lymphocyte white blood cells you can’t suffer the same one twice, I’m nowhere near two hundred! Another virus is sure to find me.
  • The average adult contracts between two and three viruses per year. I must be uncommon! I must’ve had six colds this year alone, one after the other.
  • Symptoms usually resolve between seven and ten days after the virus is contracted. Again, I must be strange. I don’t feel a smidgeon better than I did two weeks ago.
  • Symptoms are more likely the result of the body’s immune response rather than the virus destroying tissue. So if it feels like you’re coughing your lungs up, nine times out of ten you’re not going to die. 🙂
  • Did you know rhinoviruses are the most common of the common cold viruses? (Anyone know the etymology of ‘rhino’?)
  • There is evidence everywhere that hand-washing is extremely effective in warding off the virus, so if you don’t want my phlegm, go wash your hands with antibacterial soap as soon as you’ve finished reading this post. But don’t worry; my blog isn’t contagious. And if you want to be extra-careful, try wearing a face-mask. (Just don’t sue me if you’re coughing like a hyena next week after some cruel person sneezed on you.)

*feels exhausted but knows she has to blow her nose again*

*realises she just used the last tissue in the box*


Anyway, I still have an essay to write…


8 thoughts on “Seven Fun Facts – Viral Infections of the Upper Respiratory Tract

  1. You have a great sense of humor. I look forward to reading more of your posts and am sorry to hear that you’re sick. Hope you feel better soon. Two weeks is a long time when you’re not feeling well.

  2. Working ’til midnight?? Seriously? I guess that’s how your brother got inot Oxbridge and I didn’t/. But seriously, you don’t deserve to have to work that hard/weirdly.

    “Symptoms usually resolve between seven and ten days after the virus is contracted.” This should be correct; if you don’t believe me, I’ve seen official graphs/charts, where sneaking/runnish nose starts about three days after contracting of the cold; it should go away about a week later, but the nose part of the common cold is the worst/lingered.

    “Anyone know the etymology of ‘rhino’?” Pick me, pick me! ‘rhino’ is Greek for nose. Hence, rhinocerous – nose-horn.

    • I’m sorry to say my brother scarcely did any work either at GCSE or A-level. But then he wasn’t out every night with music and church commitments. That’s why I have to work late, really.

      Okay, I believe you. But there will always be anomalies (not to suggest I’m ALWAYS an anomaly, because that would be very self-centered).

      I wondered if you’d pick that up 😉 But ‘nose’ I didn’t expect. Nose-horn…hm, interesting

      • Uhuh, he’s just one of those genius-heads, then?

        Oh, of course. I would be a poor psychologist to insist on a world without anomalies. Besides, we are all unique. As you say, your system will react differently to illness than mine. I should comment more. I apologise.

        I saw my dad this evening and he knew – sounds like rhino is quite a popular etymol[ogy].

      • In those days it was easier to get good grades by doing no work at GCSE and A-level, says he.

        No apologies or mutual apologies. I must comment more, too.

        Well, then! 😛 None of my Philosophy and Ethics class knew. But we’re all young and naïve ;P

      • Really?? You know, I doubt that. Whilst A Levels have been jumping the hard and easy line, I still think they are at a level that most should be able to achieve.

        Mmm, but you are busy. I do not want to trouble you.

        Hehe, but it’s not so relevant 😛

  3. Pingback: Have I Said Recently … | Happy Holly Project

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