Remedy for cold
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Remedy For Cold

Most people still think that colds are due to cold air or draughts rather than to a cold germ, which finds a body unequipped with resisting power, with its germ police off guard, exhausted from overwork, or disaffected and ready to turn traitor if the enemy seems stronger than our vitality. Sometimes it seems as if we contracted it from a sneezing fellow-passenger, sometimes from a draught from an open car window. An uninformed opponent of the theory that colds are a germ disease wrote the following letter last winter to a New York newspaper:

In addition to the Society for the Suppression of Noises there should be in this town a Society for the Suppression of "Fresh-Air" Fiends. The newspapers report an epidemic of pneumonia, grippe, and colds. It is almost entirely due to the fact that the average New Yorker is compelled to live, move, and have his being from daylight to midnight in a succession of draughts of cold air caused by the insanity of overfed male and female hogs, who, with blood almost bursting through their skins, demand "fresh air" in order to keep from suffocating. Everywhere a man goes, day or night, he is in a draught caused by the crazy ideas about fresh air.

Our wise ancestors, who as a rule lived much longer than we do, and had much better health, said:
"If the wind should blow through a hole, God have mercy on your soul."
After the correspondent has learned that our ancestors had more colds than we, had poorer health, and died twenty years younger, perhaps he will listen to proof that his unclean warm air weakens the body and makes it an easy prey to cold germs.

Many physicians preach and practice this fallacy as to fresh air and colds, but few physicians now deny that influenza is a germ disease or that a nose so irritated and so neglected as to secrete large quantities of mucus is a better place for breeding disease germs than a nose whose membranes are clean and not thus irritated.

A cold can always be charged to some one else. How many can be laid to our account? There is one right that is universally not recognized, and that is the right of protection from the germs showered in the air we breathe, over the food we eat, by the sneezes of our unfortunate neighbor at school, in the street car, at the restaurant. The chief danger of a cold is to our neighbor, not to ourselves. A cold which a strong person may throw off in a day or two may mean death to his tuberculous neighbor. Though for our own health "lying up for a mere cold" is an unnecessary bore, the failure to do so may deprive our neighbor of a right greater than the right to protection against scarlet fever or smallpox. Though formerly this statement would [68] not have been true, rights change with conditions, and the fact that to-day the three most deadly diseases are pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diphtheria,—all diseases of the respiratory organs,—justifies the assertion that we have a right to protection against colds. The prevalence of colds, sore throats, irritated vocal cords, bad voices, catarrh, bronchitis, laryngitis, and asthma in America to-day demands summary measures. One can learn to sneeze into a handkerchief, not into a companion's face or into a room. School children can be taught to avoid handkerchiefs on which mucus has dried. In the far distant future we may be willing to use cheesecloth, and boil it or throw it away, or, like the Japanese, use soft paper handkerchiefs and burn them after using.