Friday, July 1, 2011
Book Review: Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of the Common Cold by Jennifer Ackerman
The title is pretty self-explanatory: this book is about colds: what they are, how they spread, and how they're treated. Ackerman deftly explains scientific concepts in layman's terms, offering easy-to-understand synopses of the latest research on the subject and dispelling a number of popular myths. I already knew that antibiotics, herbal supplements and remedies, and over-the-counter cold medications don't work, along with the fact that being outside in the cold won't make you sick, but it's good to have solid proof backing that up.
I did find the information concerning the spread of colds to be pretty enlightening, though, and the methodologies scientists use to determine that are fascinating. Also of use is the appendix, which contains an alphabetized list of cold treatments and up-to-date information on their relative efficacy. Also included are drink and chicken soup recipes, which would be great if I didn't dislike both hot alcoholic beverages and chicken with a passion. All in all, an informative, worthwhile read.
4 out of 5 stars.