During a recent trip across the country, I got a severe cold that took me out of work for a week. My 85-year-old mother, on the other hand, remained healthy. I might have figured that, at her age, my mother was more fragile and therefore more susceptible to getting sick. I figured wrong.
It illustrates what many cold experts call the million-dollar question: Why do some people get sick and others in similar environments don't?
There's no cure or effective treatment for the common cold. Over-the-counter remedies may control symptoms, but they don't cure them.
The Blizzard of 2011 has at least one group cheering: the futures market traders in Chicago. That's because for the second year, contracts are being offered based on the amount of snowfall in several cities.
Airlines and other businesses have been using the contracts as a type of insurance policy against the weather.
Business has boomed in its second year — and the recent storm looks to make things even more attractive for the only snow futures market in the world.
Both supporters and opponents of the health care law routinely refer to the requirement that most people get health insurance or pay a penalty as the measure's "linchpin." But is it? Not everyone thinks so.
"The biggest fear is that without mandatory health insurance, there will be no incentive for people to buy health insurance until after they're sick, and then the system won't work," says Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a California-based advocacy group that supports the law but opposes mandatory health insurance. "I would take issue with that."
PJ Harvey's eighth album, out on Feb. 15, finds the singer turning her gaze outward, toward the political situation in her homeland of England. The topics are as bleak and violent as they were on her most lacerating work, but this time the subjects are soldiers falling in battle ("like lumps of meat") and landscapes that have been torn up, both physically and spiritually.