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When winter rolls around and we begin to spend more time indoors, the common cold becomes an unfortunate reality for many of us. But for something as common as the cold, misconceptions about it are remarkably common as well. The following collection of Web sites provides an in-depth look at the cold and the cold virus.The first site (1) comes from the Common Cold Care Center of Cardiff University in Wales, and offers a thorough and highly readable introduction to the common cold, including sections on conventional and alternative cold medications. Readers can brush up on their basic virology with the next Web site from HowStuffWorks to get a clear, general idea of how the cold virus infects the body (2). This site also explains why antibiotics have no effect on a virus, and includes numerous hypertext links to related HowStuffWorks Web pages. KidsHealth for Parents, a service of the Nemours Foundation, provides a straightforward guide to the symptoms of cold vs. flu, while also offering information on flu treatment options (3). The next Web site, from University of Guelph, contains an easy-to-understand comparison of bacteria and viruses (4). Readers can learn more about rhinoviruses, the family of viruses which account for about one-third of all colds, in the following Web site from the University of South Carolina's Microbiology and Immunology Online (5). The next Web site offers visitors a close-up look at human rhinovirus 14 with over a dozen 3-D images and movies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Bock Laboratory (6). The following site describes the findings, as detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of a Purdue University research team that has analyzed on an atomic scale the structure of the cellular receptor that binds cold-causing viruses (7). And finally, find out about common cold clinical trials with ClinicalTrial.gov, a service of the National Institutes of Health (8).
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