I’m not usually one to play the blame game, but you need to know that when you get a cold, your symptoms are not the virus’s fault. They’re your fault.
I read about a study in Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: a day in the life or your body by Jennifer Ackerman (which I thoroughly enjoyed–go get it right now) in which participants were exposed to the rhinovirus and their responses were tracked. I don’t think I would have participated in this study willingly.
And it gets worse. The people who exhibit the typical cold symptoms (stuffy nose, sore throat, etc.) are those with stronger immune systems.
The stuffy nose, sore throat, and cough are all caused by your body’s inflammatory response, a valiant effort to banish bodily invaders that just so happens to simultaneously make you miserable. Two birds, one stupid stone. Since people with “stronger” immune systems have a more pronounced inflammatory response, their experience of the common cold is made all the more miserable. Oh, the irony of it all.
Here’s sort of what happens.
I wasn’t about to attempt to accurately represent the complicated mess that we call sinuses, so here is an ultra-simplified version of your nose and throat.
In an effort to flush out the invader, your nose produces mucus.
The sheer power of this snot river may also stimulate your sneeze reflex.
So while your body is all caught up making your miserable, it’s easy to entirely lose track of the virus that started this horrible mess.