Colds, flu and other ailments are as much a part of fall and winter as turkey and hot chocolate. Part of the reason for this is that we spend a lot more time indoors. Kids are back in school. Windows are closed. Lunches are no longer enjoyed outdoors. We’re all in close contact with one another, so it's easier for germs to get passed around. Plus, certain viruses (like cold viruses) flourish in winter's low humidity.
The common cold is aptly named. Nearly everyone has suffered from it at one time or another, and no one on earth is exempt from getting a cold. It is quite literally a universal disease. The common cold comes with an uncommonly high price tag. Something in the order of 5 billion dollars is spent annually in medication, doctors’ fees and workdays lost; they account for more than half of school and workdays lost due to illness. Then there's the flu. It is estimated that influenza costs more than 10 billion dollars per year due to lost productivity and associated medical treatment, as well as indirect costs of preventative measures. Winter illness is big, big business.
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