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Chapter III Page 1

I guess, Tammy, if you ever run for political office you would never make me your speechwriter. But what else can one think of except assembly line medication when tens of millions are in the grip of the virus, or are about to receive its visitation and fall flat in bed weary and depressed.

The virus is so highly contagious that you can’t fend it off unless you are fully prepared. One sneeze by a passenger in an airplane and – bingo! The virus has found a home but not necessarily the soil to proliferate. You get it, even though you are sitting fifty feet away from the passenger who sneezed. The air in the airplane is re-circulated, and it would have made no difference if the passenger had let it go with a sneeze right into your face.

Even on the ground in a closed space with people sitting in an air-conditioned area, which as a rule re-circulates seventy-five percent of the inlet air, there really is no escape from that person who has this temporary disease sitting anywhere in that closed space.

You’re at risk even in a theater or a movie. These circumstances make you catch colds, reasons can be imagined or to be remained unknown.

After forty-eight hours or so, if you are prone, the classic symptoms including a running nose, head ache, muscle aches and sometimes sore throat come, and you always think you had made some mistake like sitting in a draft or not having your jacket on while watering the lawn.

From 412 B.C. on, when a viral disease was described by the Greek physician Hippocrates, man has borne the viral infection with a considerable measure of self-blame and unjustified guilt. Exposure to low temperature only speeds the onset of the infection. That is all it does.

The assembly line concept can wait until it is desperately needed. For now the individual effort will do and there is no shortness of anything to achieve invincibility.

And you know, for some reason, by fighting the cold virus year after year and on time with the method described, in regard to your resistance, you mutate into a different being. A metamorphosis takes place.

When you don’t fear the cold virus and you are prepared to welcome it any time, you seem to develop the type of antibody that makes you immune to catching the strain of virus that brings headaches, muscle aches and fever. It is always the wet-nose type that comes, year after year, which doesn’t get anywhere with anyone exercising the method.

I have even better news for you, Tammy, coming at the end of this letter. So read on.

Regarding a sore throat, age must have some influence, but I haven’t been bothered with one in the last ten years.

There have been times I had a peculiar sensation in my throat when swallowing, but it has been so minor that I have either gargled with salt water or just ignored it.

I believe if the method I’ve described above is exercised by the whole population of the earth, the breeding ground for the virus will become so inhospitable that eventually the virus will die out, will be exterminated just like smallpox, from the surface of the earth. Vaccination of smallpox with good ending took 50 years or so. But for that to happen with cold all this scaremongering that you should not take a pill or any medicine without consulting a physician out of the fear of harming yourself must end.

There are minor illnesses with their cure within the range, scope and know-ledge of many adults, because of their past experiences with the illness. Only they don’t dare to do anything on their own because of all the fear that only doctors should recommend the right medicine.

In regard to influenza there is great confusion. There are countless theories, hypotheses and contradictions among the medical community. While residing in the U.S., I was once given penicillin shots by a doctor for influenza. Not that it did me any good at all, but another doctor, on hearing this, shook his head and conveyed with his fixed gaze that the other doctor, whom he didn’t know, must be a crackpot.

Only on one thing in fighting the virus do all doctors agree: Rest. Outside of that, personal opinion rules, and every advice and prescription is based on personal deductions. Unfortunately, one has been as good as the other.

No one really knows why some people don’t catch colds at all. Year in and year out, some people don’t catch colds and seem to have permanent immunity – they don’t even catch mild colds. In the coldest weather most of these people don’t wear topcoats because they are cumbersome and weighty. Also it seems in a real life-and-death crisis, not related to illness, one becomes immune no matter how prone to catching a cold one has been during the course of his lifetime.

We have heard of airline crashes on a snow-covered plain or mountain. Among the survivors, frostbite is frequently reported, but rarely a case of influenza or a common cold.

I met an Armenian from Soviet Armenia before the Soviet Union dismantled. Prior to the earthquake in that region, he had acquired an exit permit to visit his relatives in Iran. He was among a number of people on the first floor of a government apartment building when the quake came.

Those on the first floor dashed for the basement just before the total collapse of the building. For twelve days they were trapped in the basement. They had food and candles, because a section of the basement was either a food store or food storage house of some sort for the residents of the building.

The burly, ruddy-faced Armenian whom I met in the apartment of one of his relatives in Tehran was not inclined toward exchange of dialogue or conversation. Brought up in a society where reticence was elemental to survival, he mostly shook his head or nodded assent, or offered short comments.

Glasnost evidently did not seem yet to have put any noticeable impression on him. Or, perhaps the earthquake was an experience he did not want to talk about - just like war veterans, reluctant to talk about their war memories.

I gathered from his relatives that for twelve days he, along with the others tapped into basement, had had enough to eat. They were cold, with only the flame of a single candle, lit one after another, to keep their fingers warm and functioning.

I asked the man, “Did any of you have a cold or influenza when you were rescued?”

The man was peeling a cucumber. Pausing, and slightly amused, he placed a peeled skin carefully on platter, and without looking up, replied, “When you are faced with death, you don’t catch cold.”

He didn’t say anything more and I didn’t question him further, because I felt I was straining him.

No thorough and conclusive research has been made as to why we catch colds at all. After centuries of stereotyped thin-king we have to drop off trying to find the cause outside of ourselves.

This notion of being “caught in a rain without an umbrella,” or “having no hat on while walking on the streets in a cold autumn wind” and so on must be discarded as the reasons for catching cold. People catch cold and go on to the flu stage right in the heat of the summer.

Most summer colds come from car air-conditioners, which like nasal pas-sages provide a suitable place for the virus to sustain itself.

The evaporator, the cold surface of the coil on which the air inside the car passes and delivers its heat, is always moist with condensation. It is cool and dark there and moisture mixed with street dust drips from the coil surfaces.

Remember, the virus does not need human blood to survive. It thrives in moisture and dust. When the air-conditioner is off and you start it after several hours, an unhealthy, hot and vapid humid air blasts out of the outlets first before gradually cooling. This indicates the presence of humidity. All it takes is one with a cold to sneeze in a new car and the aerosol droplets spewed out find a nice cool humid home on the evaporator coil surface of the air-conditioner.


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