Your Cold and Flu Symptoms Have a Purpose?


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Like just about everyone else on Penn State's campus right now, I am sick. It's cold and flu season, I get it, but it's such a bummer. Fighting through drowsiness during class, being the only one in my apartment that is freezing, sniffling and sneezing and coughing - not fun things. Why do our bodies do all these things when we have a cold? I did a little research to find out.

Apparently, each and every symptom of our colds has a purpose. With every cough, sneeze and sniffle, our body is working to rid itself of sickness-causing germs. While our symptoms may not be fun, they are absolutely necessary if we ever want to get better. Here's a little breakdown of what the different symptoms of the common cold are doing.

Sneezing
Turns out that every time we sneeze, our body is expelling bacteria, germs, and other foreign particles. That's why it's so important to sneeze into a tissue or your upper arm. Thousands of germs are literally flying out of your body at serious speeds, sometimes up to 100 miles per hour. They say it's best to not try and "suppress" a sneeze, because our body is trying to get rid of irritants.

Aches
Whenever you get achy muscles during a bout of the flu, it means your body is releasing chemicals to help your white blood cells fight off the infection. 

Chills & Fever
This is the one I found most interesting. Chills are the body's way of generating heat when it's cold. Usually, you'll have  a round of chills right before you get a fever. Fever is the body's way of raising it's temperature to fight off a virus. Fevers help the body eliminate viruses that thrive and multiply at body temperature, which is normally 98.6 degrees. 

Runny Nose
You get a runny nose when you're sick because mucus is one of the ways the body rids the sinus and nasal passage area of germs and bacteria. Mucus collects germs and bacteria and when you get the mucus out of your body, you get the germs out of your body.

Cough
Coughing is beneficial to the body because it keeps the throat clear of mucus. When mucus has dripped into the throat and irritated the nerves in the respiratory system, that's what triggers your coughing fits.

So next time you're cursing your coughs, or miserable from aches and chills, just remember your body is working that infection out of its system.

1 Comment

It is truly astonishing what our bodies can do in the form of healing themselves even without medicine. Not only with cold and flu sickness but even when we break a bone. Our body has the ability to bond back together and form an even stronger connection. You have to think this is what our bodies did before medicine was even around to help with the healing process. I have been shown first hand after many concussions the body can do amazing things. A concussion is a bruise on the brain and it heals itself every time without any medicine.

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