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Summer Cold

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I have a summer cold. Take a look at that image. It's a schematic of the human rhinovirus; the virus that causes the common cold. Developed at the University of Wisconsin, this image uses different colors to represent each different type of protein. It's surprising to realize that something so lovely can cause so much misery.

I'm told that “summer cold” is a misnomer and refers to hay fever and allergies instead of a true viral infection. But I can attest that my cold is definitely caused by a virus. I'm running a low fever and have true cold symptoms, not allergy ones. Now I'll admit that my cold could definitely have been precipitated by allergies. I spent last week in San Antonio and with all the humidity, I was quite uncomfortable. I didn't notice any congestion, but I did note that the pollen and mold levels were pretty well elevated—as reported by the local television stations. Regardless, I started getting sick shortly after returning home.

Also, it's worth noting that while summer doesn't officially begin until the 21st of June, our 90+ degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures say that summer has arrived ahead of the calendar.

So, misnomer or not, I have a summer cold.

I just hate having a cold when the weather is so nice and I should be motivated to get out and do things. Instead, I'm dragging around and if I'm not sipping on something all the time, then I'm coughing. And coughing irritates my throat more than it already is. And drinking all that liquid means that it goes right through me... ('nuff said!)

While looking for an image to illustrate this blog posting, I found several articles about the sequencing of the genome of the common cold virus. Actually, all 99 known variants of the cold virus were sequenced, and a “family tree” was constructed. To read about the research, check out Ed Yong's article at Science Blogs.

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