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In contrast to influenza, the common cold is more of a localized, sniffly-sneezy-sore-throat-stuffy-nose phenomenon, lacking the systemic flu symptoms of extreme fatigue, fever, and severe aches and pains. Cough, headache, and chest discomfort can accompany either, but tend to be more severe in influenza. Coronaviruses are the second-most common cause of the common cold and follow a seasonal pattern like the flu, peaking every winter.
Over the last few decades, hundreds of human pathogens have emerged at a rate unprecedented in human history. Emerged from where? Mostly from animals. Measles is thought to have come from domesticated sheep and goats, a mutant of the rinderpest virus. The measles virus has so successfully adapted to humans that livestock can’t get measles and we can’t get rinderpest. Only with the prolonged intimate contact of domestication was the rinderpest virus able to mutate enough to make the jump. Though now considered a relatively benign disease, in roughly the last 150 years, measles has been estimated to have killed about 200 million people worldwide. These deaths can be traced to the taming of the first sheep or goats a few hundred generations ago.
Smallpox may have resulted from camel domestication. We domesticated pigs and got whooping cough, domesticated chickens and got typhoid fever, and domesticated ducks and got influenza. Leprosy came from water buffalo. Where did we get the common cold coronaviruses? From cattle or horses. How often did wild horses have opportunity to sneeze into humanity’s face before they were broken and bridled? Before then, the common cold was presumably common only to them.
The healthier we are, the stronger our immune system may be able to battle against viral infections like the common cold. Studies have shown plant-based eating may help prevent, treat, or even reverse the progression of some of our leading health concerns and also improve our emotional states, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, sense of well-being, and daily functioning. To fight the common cold, specifically, research has shown that study participants randomized to garlic experienced fewer colds, faster recovery, and reduction in symptom severity.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.

Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash. This image has been modified.

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