Acute viral nasopharyngitis historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Younes M.B.B.CH [2]


Common cold was first considered a distinct diagnosis by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century.

Historical Perspective

  • In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin considered the causes and prevention of the common cold.
  • After several years of research, he concluded that "People often catch a cold from one another when shut up together in small close rooms, or coaches; and when sitting near and conversing, so as to breathe in each other's transpiration."
  • Although viruses had not yet been discovered, Franklin hypothesized that the common cold was passed between people through the air.
  • He recommended exercise, bathing, and moderation in food and drink consumption to avoid the common cold.[1] Franklin's theory on the transmission of the cold was confirmed about 150 years later.[2]

Common Cold Unit (CCU)


  1. "Scientist and Inventor: Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words... (AmericanTreasures of the Library of Congress)".
  2. Andrewes CH, Lovelock JE, Sommerville T (1951). "An experiment on the transmission of colds". Lancet. 1 (1): 25–7. PMID 14795755.
  3. Reto U. Schneider (2004). Das Buch der verrückten Experimente (Broschiert). ISBN 344215393X.
  4. Al-Nakib W, Higgins PG, Barrow I, Batstone G, Tyrrell DA (1987). "Prophylaxis and treatment of rhinovirus colds with zinc gluconate lozenges". J Antimicrob Chemother. 20 (6): 893–901. PMID 3440773.
  5. Tyrrell DA (1992). "A view from the Common Cold Unit". Antiviral Res. 18 (2): 105–25. PMID 1329647.