How we Catch Cold.
This pertinent question is just now engaging attention. There is another question which should be answered first—namely, what is cold ? The old idea of a “ chill ” is, perhaps, nearer the truth than the modern notion of a. ‘‘cold.” The hypothesis would seem to be that a “cold ” is something more than a cold, because it is said, “ you do not catch cold unless you are cold.” The fact is, there are probably as many diverse occurrences grouped and confounded under the generic title of cold catching as diseases covered by that popular term fever, which is made to comprise every state in which the pulse is quickened and the temperature raised. By a parallel process of reasoning “cold” ought to be limited to cases in which the phenomena are those of a “ chill. ” When a person “ catches cold,” either of several morbid accidents may occur—(l) He may have such a chill of the surface as shall drive the blood in on the internal organs and hamper some weak, or disorder and influence some diseased viscus ; (2) the cold may so impincc on the superficial nerves that serious disturbance of the system will ensue and a morbid state be set up ; (3) the current of the air which causes the cold may in fact be laden with the propagating “ germs” of disease ; or (4) the vitality of the organism as a whole, or of some one or more of its parts, may be so depressed by a sudden abstraction of heat that recovery may be impossible, or a severe and mischievous reaction ensue. The philosophy of prevention is obviously to preserve the natural and healthy action of the otganiam as a whole, and of the surface in particular, while habituating the skin to bear severe alterations of temperature by judicious exposure and orderly stimulation by pure air and clean water, and natural habits of hygiene and health.
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