Curing the Common Cold

You need to read my posts about sleep and brain entropy before diving into this. 

So here’s the theory: that colds could be a symptom of low brain entropy. Think about it, how do you increase the entropy of a system? If you restrict air flow, pressure would increase. So what if the sniffles or your inflamed throat is only your body trying to raise it’s pressure naturally.

If the brain has an equilibrium state, and you’re there, but you just eat and do basically the same thing every day. The fall temperature change will affect two things: the temperature will go down so you will burn more calories doing the same tasks. And because the temperature goes down, your brain entropy goes down. Let’s say you were at equilibrium before the temperature change. After the temperature change, your brain entropy will be low, if nothing else changes. So as always, the body adjusts. In this case, it restricts air flow. By closing the nasal passages and throat, the brain has less airway, and the entropy in nearer is equilibrium state.

Everyone knows that a warm shower and soup work wonders when you have a cold. This would explain why. 

What is the common cold?

Well, we basically call it an upper respiratory tract infection, caused by any number of viruses. It’s best defined by it’s symptoms:

  • stuffy nose or nasal drainage,
  • sore or scratchy throat,
  • sneezing,
  • hoarseness,
  • cough,
  • low-grade fever,
  • headache,
  • earache,
  • body aches,
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue.

If all this is true, what is the theoretical cause of the cold?

1. Your head grows, but your brain entropy stays the same. The gap created by the change of volume causes a need for heat. The need for heat is the basis of the cold. [I can’t think of a practical application of this reason.]

2. Your brain entropy goes down. The best way I can think of it is that sleep cools your brain. If sleep cools your brain, and you hibernate in the winter, your brain will be much colder. As before, the lack of heat would be the basis for your cold.

So how can low brain entropy explain these symptoms? Pretty simple: if the brain strives for equilibrium, when it gets too cold [low entropy] there are only a couple of ways to combat it.

  1. Restrict air flow. If you restrict air flow, you raise the temperature. So your nose is clogged, throat is sore, and you’re coughing and sneezing is a result of that.
  2. Fever. If you don’t take any action, your body will heat the brain from the inside.
  3. Add humidity. Humidifiers help mitigate cold symptoms. Humidity raises the entropy of the system. So if you breathe in the more humid air, it would ease some of the work your brain/body has to do to equalize the pressure.
  4. Sleep less. If sleep cools the brain. Too much sleep [without a fever], will keep your brain entropy too low. The sun sets earlier in the winter, so people may start going to sleep earlier. If you go to sleep earlier and wake at the same time, and do the same things during the day, your brain has more time to cool. And this pattern of hibernation produces lower and lower entropy over time.

Quick sidebar: Did you know that older people sleep less than younger people? Did you know that your body temperature decreases as you get older? Think about it: if sleep cools the brain, and when the body is hot the brain is hot. People with cooler brains would need less sleep. 

So why does colder weather make us sick?

The cooler weather does some of the work normally done by sleep to cool the brain. So essentially, we need less sleep in cooler weather. Sleeping longer than necessary for a season, and your brain may get too cold, and take it’s own action to heat back up.

Sources:

  1. https://www.medicinenet.com/common_cold/article.htm#does_it_have_anything_to_do_with_exposure_to_cold_weather
  2. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/12-tips-prevent-colds-flu-1#3
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343
  4. https://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403