Monday, September 20, 2010

Ah-Choo! by Jennifer Ackerman Review


Some colds are like mice, timid and annoying; others like dragons, accompanied by body aches and deep misery. In AH-CHOO!, Jennifer Ackerman explains what, exactly, a cold is, how it works, and whether it's really possible to "fight one off." Scientists call this the Golden Age of the Common Cold because Americans suffer up to a billion colds each year, resulting in 40 million days of missed work and school and 100 million doctor visits. They've also learned over the past decade much more about what cold viruses are, what they do to the human body, and how symptoms can be addressed. In this ode to the odious cold, Ackerman sifts through the chatter about treatments-what works, what doesn't, and what can't hurt. She dispels myths, such as susceptibility to colds reflects a weakened immune system. And she tracks current research, including work at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, a world-renowned center of cold research studies, where the search for a cure continues.


I have always been curious about what causes the common cold and if there is a simple way to cure it, so this book looked enticing to me. However, I was worried about whether or not I would be able to read a whole book on the subject. Luckily, Jennifer Ackerman has a unique style of writing that allows her to pack in a lot of information while telling stories and making it fun. I actually found myself laughing a few times and even asking my Husband if he would like to sign up to be a Flu test subject with me (they get paid a lot and get some awesome accommodations and meals…read the book for more info).

Ackerman literally discusses every aspect of the common cold in this book. She has everything from the top germ spots to cold comforting recipes (yes, recipes!) to a dissection of medications that are used for colds. There is some surprising information that you will learn. For example, did you know that drinking moderately or having a larger social circle could actually decrease your chance of getting a cold?

I found this book very enjoyable and interesting. I definitely recommend it! 


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