Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Colds
Name: John Smith
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

What causes colds and how can they be cured?

Colds are caused by a virus (rhinovirus) that invades the membranes of the nose and trachea (the windpipe). The symptoms that we call a "cold" are mostly the body's attempts to get rid of the virus. There is not a cure for the cold you just wait for the body's immune system (defense system) to get rid of the virus. You can treat the symptoms, though aspirin for fever, antihistamines to clear up congestion in the nose, etc. Sometimes, after a bad cold, you can get bronchitis, where bacteria invade the windpipe and lungs because the cold made them more susceptible. This can be treated with antibiotics, which kill bacteria, but not viruses.


Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory