A cold times 2

Recently getting over a cold a month ago, well for three weeks I felt fine. Now boom I woke up with the same cold symptoms.

Question is what is the most likely cause for this?

  1. The original cold going into remission?

  2. Getting over it getting a new cold.

  3. Reinfecting myself from the germs maybe left on the chairs etc

  4. From a coworker who I gave it to giving it back to me.

  5. Other?

Now I know no one can tell me with certainty but I was just curious as this has NEVER happened to me before. I always get one cold before X-Mas and maybe about 25% of the time one between X-Mas and spring.

I can’t figure it out as you would assume I would have some immunity to the original cold so how could it be #3 or #4?


A cold is caused by a virus. After your body has had Virus A for a few days, it has manufactured antibodies to Virus A and fights it off. Virus A goes away–in your body. However, you are of course not living at the bottom of a mine shaft. You are surrounded by other people, all of whom are dealing with their own virus versions. So, what happened was, at least one person you met during the last three weeks was walking around with Virus B, and you got it from him. It was made even easier by the fact that your immune system had just gotten done fighting off Virus A, and it was “spent”. :smiley:

If it’s any consolation, you may have given Virus A to the Virus B person in return.

You can’t “reinfect” yourself with a virus that you just got over–your body right now is chock-full of Virus A antibodies, all those white blood cells all primed to chow down on any copies of Virus A that may dare to show their heads. It is possible to play “virus tag” with co-workers, though. What happens is, you get Cold Virus A, and before it dies a final death in your body at the hands of your white blood cells, it mutates into Virus A1, which is similar enough to Virus A that your body’s antibodies can handle it, but you give it to a co-worker. So then he has Virus A1, and before it dies a final death in his body, it mutates into Virus A2, which is different enough from virus A that it is able to infect you, especially because your immune system is down. But it doesn’t technically speaking “reinfect” you, because by now it’s practically a completely different virus from the original Virus A.

And no, I don’t have a particular cite for this, it’s just my general understanding of how cold viruses work in a population, and some personal observations of working in offices where winter “virus tag” was a seemingly annual occurrence.

You can’t normally get viruses from furniture, either. JillGat on What diseases can you catch from toilet seats?.

Cold viruses are generally airborne, like in sneeze droplets, or spread by skin-to-skin contact (shaking hands, etc.)

Mark, if you have a high fever, like higher than 102 for longer than 24 hours, or if you start feeling short of breath, or if you have a deep horrible cough that won’t go away, you will go see a doctor–won’t you? :wink:

There are about six different kinds of pneumonia you can get–it’s not just for old people, you know. Jim Henson? Ring a bell?

Over 500 cold viruses exist to bug us. Most of them fall into the rhinovirus category, but there are others. Smeghead can give the details. So forget about the immunity. Moreover, none of them provoke the body into forming lasting memory cells, of the IgE type, but only temporary antibodies. I think IgA, but Smeghead can again set the record straight. I’ve never bothered to memorize the alphabet soup of immunoglobins.

I’m not a virologist; however I see no reason why you can’t possibly have more than one virus at a time, nor one two weeks from the previous one.