Researchers: Immune System to Blame for Cold's Cough

Cold Medicines Don't Attack Underlying Cause

Got a runny nose, cough, the chills? Don't blame the cold virus.

Researchers at the University of Calgary say it's your body's immune system that causes these annoying symptoms, not the cold virus itself. The breakthrough research examined genes of infected people, and found that after two days of exposure to the virus, their bodies underwent 6,500 gene alterations.

Those alterations then send people's immune systems into overdrive, causing cold symptoms like a stuffy nose and blocked airways. Over the counter cold medicines treat the familiar cold related complaints, but don't attack the underlying cause: the rhinovirus.

Researchers say as they learn more about the biology of that virus, they'll get better at not only treating it: but also at preventing it entirely.

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