All Too Common
The simple rhinovirus has quite an economic impact.
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Number of colds adults typically catch each year
Number of colds kids typically catch
Number, in millions, of school days children with colds miss each year
Number, in millions, of days workers miss to care for children with colds or to nurse their own colds
Total annual economic impact of the common cold, in billions of dollars, including such direct costs as physician visits and indirect costs because of lost productivity
Number, in millions, of doctor's visits for cold-related treatment each year
Effect that antibiotics have on viral illnesses such as the common cold
Annual amount, in billions of dollars, cold sufferers spend on antibiotics (possible reasons doctors prescribe them: force of habit, pressure from patients and efforts to prevent secondary infections caused by bacteria in the throat and nose)
Number of distinct types of rhinoviruses, which cause an estimated 30 to 35% of all adult colds and would defy a catchall vaccine because they constantly mutate
Number of days the antiviral drug BIRR 4 spent on the market. Despite shortening rhinovirus colds, the drug was not considered commercially viable, in part because it had to be administered to early in the infection process to be practical and because it targeted only about a third of colds.