Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.

Sadly, despite ongoing research into the common cold, no credible cures have been found. Even Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry and nearly beat Watson, Crick, and Franklin to the discovery of the structure of DNA, seems to have been largely speculating when he decided to investigate the effects of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) on the common cold. The chemical may lesson symptoms, but it doesn’t prevent colds. Vitamin C is water soluble, however, so it doesn’t linger in the body and taking huge doses doesn’t seem to be bad for one, and it’s less ridiculous than some cures. For myself, I’ll stick to zinc tablets and that old reliable: tea laced with booze.

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed at least twenty million people. Some mutation had transformed the disease that induces a week of misery into something deadly, that killed the young and healthy even more easily than it killed children and the elderly. La Grippe ripped through American and European hospitals, already strained by the casualties of World War I. More than forty thousand American soldiers died from influenza; in comparison, fifty thousand American soldiers died in action or from wounds throughout the Great War. In Europe and in America, the dead overwhelmed funeral homes and mortuaries; in some parts of the U.S., public funerals were outlawed. When people seem to be overreacting to SARS, this sort of global, widely transmissible pandemic is what they have in mind. Compared to the Spanish flu, the common cold is as comforting as a warm bath, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. As Ogden Nash wrote:

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.

Sadly, despite ongoing research into the common cold, no credible cures have been found. Even Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry and nearly beat Watson, Crick, and Franklin to the discovery of the structure of DNA, seems to have been largely speculating when he decided to investigate the effects of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) on the common cold. The chemical may lesson symptoms, but it doesn’t prevent colds. Vitamin C is water soluble, however, so it doesn’t linger in the body and taking huge doses doesn’t seem to be bad for one, and it’s less ridiculous than some cures. For myself, I’ll stick to zinc tablets and that old reliable: tea laced with booze.