More Hard Cold Facts

commonCold250Since my post a few days ago, I’ve been in “discussion” with the wife who has certain, er, understandings of what we must do this side of my germ state.

She has advocated for disinfection–short of threatening to burn all my infected bed clothes, but only barely. The possibility of industrial-strength sterilzation made me do a little more digging. And I was right about some things. And not about others.

I was right that you cannot re-infect yourself from your own toothbrush with the same viruses you just survived. You CAN be infected almost immediately with another strain passed on by another infected soul. But rhinovirus of any particular flavor is not the gift that keeps on giving.

Matter of fact, the virus dies outside human cells in a matter of an hour to no more than 3 days under ideal circumstances. So fumigating the house is overkill, dear.

OTOH, I dismissed the oral route of transmission or any pathway to infection other than aerosol droplets deep in the recesses of the nose, some possibility exists if fingers bearing the virus end up in the nose (but seems like pretty deep—maybe at least one knuckle) or  a finger rubbing the eye. Remember that virus-laden tears drain through a duct that enters the nasopharynx–where the adenoids wait for the viral hordes.

Toothbrushes and cold viruses: Can you re-infect yourself while brushing your teeth?

See Also: Hand Over Your Mouth

So,  be mindful (and maybe don a stylish bandana over your nose and mouth) when in a room full of sneezers. Keep your hands in your pockets. Hold your breath.  And eat chicken soup prophylactically. What could it hurt?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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