Disease management has come a long way in the last century, with vaccines for ailments like polio, smallpox, influenza, and diphtheria all becoming widely available. However, the medical community still grapples with a much more common ailment: the common cold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that adults suffer from between two and three colds a year, and children contract colds even more frequently. That’s a lot of downtime for cold sufferers – as well as a big distraction for doctors, who have to treat this innocuous but irritating ailment. So, what happens if we eradicate the common cold?
What Happens If We Eradicate the Common Cold?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that Americans experience about one billion colds every year. At an average of two to three colds per adult, that’s a staggering amount of downtime. In fact, the NIH published a study that calculated the annual cost of cold-related lost productivity; the result was approximately $25 billion. That’s a significant amount of money lost from the U.S. economy. In fact, it’s enough to buy the Chicago Cubs 25 times over!
While employees will still require sick days if we eradicate the common cold, the cold’s effect on the economy is unmistakable.
Fewer School Absences
The CDC reports that nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold. If we eradicated the common cold, students could spend more time in the classroom and less time at home with the sniffles. In addition, those missed school days don’t just affect students. When teachers are ill, their absence costs the school time and money and can negatively impact the students’ classroom experience. Consequently, curing the common cold could greatly enhance academic productivity in the United States.
More Attention to Deadly Illnesses
With approximately one billion colds affecting Americans each year, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are forced to devote a significant amount of attention to treating cold patients. If we eradicated the common cold, it could reduce the amount of patients in doctors’ waiting rooms, freeing up doctors to focus on more pressing cases. Eliminating the need for cold medicine would also give pharmaceutical companies more time and resources to pursue cures for life-threatening diseases.
Why Haven’t We Eradicated the Common Cold?
Researchers identified rhinoviruses – the primary group of pathogens that cause the common cold – in the 1950s. Since then, several approaches to the common cold have been tested; however, scientists haven’t been able to find a cure. The problem is the sheer number of circulating rhinovirus strains. The NIH reports that there are at least 160 different rhinovirus strains active today. Plus, the common cold’s side effects are typically mild: sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, general fatigue, body aches, etc. Because of this, despite its prevalence, the cold isn’t concerned a very pressing matter.
Due to the astounding number of circulating rhinovirus strains and the generally mild side effects, scientists have not yet found a cure for the common cold. Unfortunately, we may never know what happens if we eradicate the common cold.
So, what happens if we eradicate the common cold? We’d most likely enjoy greater productivity, fewer sick days, and more time to devote to pursue lifesaving medical research. For now, the number of rhinovirus strains makes a cure impractical. However, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to suffer from multiple colds a year. SafeSpace products are designed to protect you, your family, and your community from harmful bugs like rhinoviruses.
The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto germ and odor eliminators, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to keep your family safe and healthy. To avoid germs year-round, stock up on disinfectant essentials with the SafeSpace Germ Fighter Kit. You’ll get everything you need to stay healthy this season, including hand sanitizers, disinfecting and deodorizing mists, and disinfectant foggers. For more information about SafeSpace, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-735-2506.
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