Colds and the flu (influenza) are among the most frequent and universal illnesses we all experience. Yet we don’t have any truly effective treatments for them. Sure, there are plenty of products available to treat the symptoms. And there are vaccines and some prescription treatments for influenza, which have modest effects. But it would be nice if there was something that reliably protected us from getting sick at all, or could speed up recovery if we catch something.
We all have our own approaches for dealing with colds. Given that most infections are mild, differ in their symptoms, and will generally resolve on their own, it’s difficult to distinguish if any treatment is actually doing anything. Sure we felt better, but did the Tylenol take the headache away, or did it go away on its own? Would you have coughed as much if you didn’t take that cough suppressant? And did that chicken soup really make the cold go away sooner? Continue reading