Why There Isn't A Vaccine For The Common Cold

In a world where vaccines have successfully eradicated smallpox, a highly contagious and deadly disease, creating a vaccine to cure the common cold may seem like an easy task in comparison. However, it's actually much more complicated than you might think (via Mental Floss). That's because there are more than 200 viruses that can cause colds, and it would be extremely difficult to create a vaccine that could target all of them. While it is certainly possible for vaccines to target multiple strains of a given virus, the rhinovirus — which causes more than half of all colds — has far too many strains to be defeated by a single vaccine.

Creating a vaccine for the common cold is also a relatively low priority compared to other illnesses and diseases like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although research is currently underway, most colds are mild and easily treatable, so there is no real need or demand for a vaccine.

How to prevent the common cold

In the meantime, you can protect yourself from the common cold by taking some safety precautions (via WebMD). For instance, it's important to wash your hands frequently, especially after touching door handles and other surfaces in public spaces. If you don't have access to soap and water, you can clean your hands with sanitizer (per Prevention). 

You should also try to avoid coming in contact with people who are sick (per WebMD). If you're in a public setting and are unsure of who does or does not have a cold, you can wear a face mask to prevent infected droplets from entering your nose and mouth. Furthermore, you can help prevent yourself from getting the common cold by boosting your immune system through diet and lifestyle changes. Staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can all help strengthen your body's natural defenses against disease.