What's with this....this...half-assed not-quite-a-cold I've got??

I wouldn’t even ask about it except a friend of mine reports she’s having the same problem.

For four days now, we’ve both been having some kind of…“not really a cold, but not really healthy, either” experience. It’s the damndest thing.

i’m nearly 50. I’ve probably had at least as many colds as years I’ve been alive, and they all follow a very predictable pattern…day of sore, too-open, dried out nasal passages, maybe a little runny or stuffed in one nostril during sleep, not really sure I’m gonna end up with a cold or not. Then day two, I’m getting kinda cloudy, a little weak, the stuffiness is getting pronounced, the throat is thick…then a few hours into that, there’s no question about it, everything gets worse, thicker, stuffier, snottier. I feel pretty crappy. I used to reach a tickle-cough around day 4 of this, which would become a tight, painful cough, then loosen into a phlegmy cough, but in recent years i’ve avoided that for the most part and it’s stayed pretty much in my head.

But the pattern almost never varies.

Well… this week it’s like I’ve never progressed beyond that first day or so of: “was it the heater drying me out last night or am I getting a cold?” It’s like I have a cold that isn’t moving beyond 15% strength! which is certainly preferable to being laid out with a real cold, but it’s such a novel experience it’s kinda freakin’ me out. Do I have some kind of new rhinovirus that’s just a candyass? (Since my firend reports the same experience it seems like it might be the virus itself, hence my asking the Straight Dopers). Or do people who have had colds for 50 years finally acquire the immune system ability to kick a cold’s ass before it kicks yours?

I’m genuinely weirded out by this. Any thoughts? (Also, while i’d rather be sorta under the weather than totally sick, I’d really like to feel fine again…)

Probably just a strain of the cold virus that isn’t particularly tough on you. That’s probably the answer.

Viruses mutate and the body doesn’t become pre-immune to them (the new mutations). You catch a virus, it does what it does, your body eventually gets wise to it’s ways, and provided you are healthy otherwise, your immune system puts the smackdown on it.

But different virus strains are weaker/stronger. Much like the flu. It comes in mild varieties – which are still bad – and epidemic varieties that have been known to kill thousands…hundreds of thousands…millions… It all depends on what mutation it takes on.

I’m not sure about your’s, but 'round here, lots of people have half assed cold as well. Except rather then all the normal cold stuff, it a day of annoying coughing, then about three days of constant loud hacking cough, then about two days of a phlegmy cough, and a few days of light coughing after that. My eyes are sore from all the coughing. Sucks, I don’t think it’s a cold, but I don’t know what it actually us.

Down here in East Texas we call it the “Crud”. Not really a cold, not really the flu, one person gets it and pretty soon everyone has it. It gets super annoying really fast. For the most part chugging gatorade and dayquil tends to knock it out eventually, at least thats what i’ve found to be successful.

Every time you get a cold you develop partial immunity to the virus that caused it. When you’re exposed to a virus similar to one you’ve already had, you can get a mild cold that lasts only a day or two - your immune system fights it off before you develop full symptoms. As you get older you’re exposed to more and more different viruses, so you’re less likely to get a full cold and more likely to get the two-day crud.

I think we get tiny illnesses much more often than we imagine - that our normal state isn’t disease-free, but rather, fighting some minor illness, or even several. If your immune system had performance gages, you’d see it was fighting two little things you picked up yesterday, and still wrapping up one from the day before, and in a typical week it handles 5 or 10 or more. And most of them are too small for you to notice at all. Occasionally, you happen not to have any, and maybe you notice “Gee I feel good today”. So, what you have now is a bad enough one to notice, but not as bad as the pattern you describe.

Your immune system is dynamic as well. Viruses come in different ‘strengths’, but your immune system’s ability to function fluctuates as well.

Stress is one of the key drivers in how well your immune system functions.

If you catch a mild cold virus at a particularly stressful time in your life (divorce, job loss, etc), combined with not being as physically fit, you might take a beating from it.

Conversely, you could be in very good immune health – pretty fit, low on stress, good lifestyle, etc – and catch a moderately tough virus, and you might beat it down and feel no worse than the mild one you caught earlier.

To make it all more interesting, you might not even have a virus, you could have a simple bacterial infection that has some common symptoms.

God. I think I’ve had it for about a month. Feel good for a day, then then the next day I’m a bit conjested, with a light cough and stuffy nose. Just about every one has got it.

Every time I get this, I shoot 1,000s of milligrams of vitamin C and try to get about 10-12 hours of sleep in a row. It tends to then be gone the next day.

Folks, can we skip all the anecdotal evidence being offered in this thread…please…as it is just not in the spirit of GQ?

RSV, probably. Respiratory syncytial virus

In adults, it causes a low-grade, 3-4 day “Do I have a cold or not?” infection.

In preemies, it can be deadly for the first two winters following birth, which is why I even know about it. It’s a huge boogie man in neo-natal intensive care units.

Same here in CT, everyone has it, it’s half assed and basically is just a hinderance more than anything. I’ve got it now, and I will just say this: I f*cking hate the taste of Phlegm! :mad:

I was going to ask about a (different sort of) cold-or-flu-type-thing i had the other day. In contrast to the OP, my symptoms were quite severe but lasted a very short time.

The other day, about 4 or 5 p.m., i had a slightly upset stomach. Not bad enough to puke or anything, but it sent me to the can a couple of times. Then, my muscles and joints started feeling weak and achy, like they sometimes do if i’m getting a bad cold. By about 11 p.m., i was really aching in places and had started shivering quite noticeably. At that stage, i took a couple of Tylenol, drank a few glasses of water, and got into bed.

The next morning, i was completely fine, except for a mildly stuffy nose. I don’t know what the hell it was.

>Folks, can we skip all the anecdotal evidence being offered in this thread…please…as it is just not in the spirit of GQ?

Why would anecdotal evidence not be in the spirit of GQ? While some anecdotes do not constitute sufficient evidence to reach a conclusion in some contexts, they are certainly evidence, and seemingly on the point of the general question in the OP.