This is just too much! I have been running every day since January 13th. That’s a 25 day running streak and my target was to continue with this all year long. But here it comes. The cold. First I’m feeling a bit soar in my throat. Just a bit so that I’m wondering if I’m imagining it all. Then I wake up at night and realize that I cannot swallow without pain. And when I wake up in the morning I have a fever, nausea and I feel that a man cold is creeping up on me. Despite my early Coldzyme treatment, the cold has got me in a tight grip.

I have read on the Internet that there are only about 15 different mutations of a cold. When you have suffered through one of them, you are immune to it. Could someone please tell me why I have had at least one cold every single year for the last 40 years?

I will get to the bottom of this and google out all the facts about colds that I always wonder about when I get struck by a cold.

Facts about colds

A cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract, which means the nose, the throat, the sinuses and the ears.

Ok, viruses and bacteria. What was the difference again?


Bacteria is small organisms, some thousands of a millimeter in size, that consists of one cell without a core. They are almost everywhere, around us and inside us. Some ar good for us, while some are bad.

When the bad bacteria wants to enter our body it first need to pass through our immune system, both the outer and the inner one. If they succeed, we get an infection. Bacterial infections can be stopped by antibiotics. Anti means against (as in anti-war-propaganda or anti-depressive) and bio means life (like in biology – the teaching about life). Antibiotics kills bacteria, good or bad.


Virus is the smallest biological particles that causes disease. Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot reproduce on their own. They need living tissue to multiply. On the other hand, they survive longer outside the body. They exist on door handles, elevator buttons and keyboards. The virus attach themselves to the human cells and they reprogram them to create new virus cells.

Virus is not a living organism, and therefore the antibiotics will not kill the virus.

Virus causes colds. Antibiotics helps against bacteria. Colds will not be cured by antibiotics. However, there are some antiviral substances that can be used against viruses, and some vaccines that can prevent them.


A virus according to Once Upon a Time... Life

Those of us who watched Once Upon a Time… Life in our youth knows how a Virus looks like

Course of the disease

Only about 24 hours will pass from when the infection enters the body until you’re starting to feel ill. I felt ill this Monday evening, which means that I was infected sometime during the Sunday. If I only find the person who infected me…

Apparently, the illness is worst during the first few days and after one or two weeks the infection is gone. Typical symptoms are a runny nose, nasal congestion, throat discomfort, cough and a headache and sometimes a fever. To get well , you need to rest.

Most of the facts points toward that a man cold is worse than the women equivalent. I think that this has something to do with the testosterone levels or something. There are Swiss institutes that studies all this.

Man cold

Man cold

There are only 15 versions of a cold

So, let’s enter the key question. Are there only 15 versions of a cold? Will you be immune to those if you survived them?

Apparently, there are several hundreds versions of cold viruses. When you have suffered one you have some protection against it the next time you face the same version. Yet there is a great risk that you will find other mutations of the virus.

According to Swedish media, around 85 percent of the Swedes will have one or more colds during a year. This means that sick leave and reduced working abilities corresponds to 5.1 sick days per year. According to the same source, this leads to a cost for society of a whopping 2.65 billion dollars every year. This corresponds to the total salary cost of about 53’000 Swedish teachers. For real!

Infecting others

Sharing is caring. Shared happiness is double happiness. This is so true when it comes down to illness. You don’t want to be the only one who is ill.

The cold is most contagious just before you get the symptoms and until a couple of days into the cold. If you have had your cold for some days it will be less contagious. To reduce the risk of infecting others, here are some tips:

  • Don’t touch other people – shake hands, hug, cuddle or box ears. Especially while you sneeze or cough.
  • Sneeze into your elbow, not into your hand. You won’t use your elbow to open doors or press buttons, right?
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly. This can also prevent the cold from getting to you in the first place.
  • Use one use tissues and lock the used ones away in a closed container.
  • My biggest cold sin is that I always fiddle with my hands up in my face. I scratch my nose, poke around my eyes, scratch my chin and so on. This means that all the virus stuff I got on my hands will be transferred to my face. Note to self: Keep your hands away from your face.

Last but not least: Stay home from work when you are ill, you selfish bastard! You are not indispensable at work. Your tasks can wait for a couple of days. The extra productivity that you give to work by going there will be less than the cost for the company when your colleagues do the same thing. Go home. Rest. Or take your work with you back home. Show some respect, for crying out loud!

Is there a cold vaccine?

Let me answer the question about if there is a vaccine against colds without Google. According to what I have written. Fact: There are hundreds of cold viruses. Fact: You can get a vaccine against a virus. Conclusion: You can get a vaccine against a cold, but you would need hundreds of them.

Hmm… Isn’t it possible to combine vaccines? I would gladly take like ten syringes of vaccine during a year to get resistant to all types of colds. Bah! I will need to Google this anyway.

Apparently there are 9 types of base viruses that causes a cold. The most common is the Rhino virus that causes around 50 percent of all colds. Entero, Influenza C, RSV and Corona virus are other types of cold viruses. All the hundreds of colds are mutations of those nine.

There are tests being made on cold vaccines and some success stories has been noted. However, they only seem to be able to target one virus at the time which means hundreds of syringes to get resistent. I’m not ready to go that far.

Cold vaccine syringe

When you’re cold you get a cold

While we are discussing myths. When my kids go out to play with to little clothes on I always shout for them to get dressed. “If you don’t you will get a cold”, i tell them. Is that really true?

Some Internet pages tells me that there is no evident connection between cold and freezing. At the same time, a lot of people are convinced that there is a connection.

According to Staffan Banke who is a Swedish doctor quoted in a magazine, you will not develop a cold just by freezing. However, if you have the virus inside you it may pass through your immune system more easily if you are freezing.

I will continue to rant for my children.


The last point of this rundown. Can I exercise with a cold in my body. Can I continue my 25 day running streak?

I immediately found an interesting Q&A where Rikard Viberg, Swedish doctor gives his view. He says that there is a small risk of developing a myocarditis – heart infection – if you exercise while ill. The worse the cold, the bigger the risk. If you are ill, you should not train hard.

He states that it is still possible to exercise lightly with a cold in the body, like technique practice. You should not increase your heart rate too much though.

You should never exercise when you have a fever.

If I read on forums about the topic, where “ordinary people” have exercised with a cold I get a different view. An example: “2002 I exercised with a slightly soar throat. I took a slow run with a pulse just below 70 % of max. Two days later I had to go to the hospital with an ambulance because my immune defense had collapsed”.

Bah! I will have to restart my running streak in a couple of days. Now I will have some hot chocolate in front of the TV. Maybe watch some cross country skiing rerun on Youtube.


Those are my sources. They are all in Swedish.

Allt om vetenskap
Sveriges Radio
Dagens Hälsa
1177 om träning
Funbeat om träning