Minor, yet overpowering; small, yet naggingly insistent--a mystifying, cure-defying, all-too-frequent nemesis gets a whole volume of the ""Encyclopedia of Health"" here. Kittredge, a medical journalist with a background in respiratory therapy, begins with historical beliefs about how colds spread and what they signify. Ben Franklin came close to guessing their true cause centuries before it was generally understood. The notion that the ""soul could leave the body and a demon take its place"" led to the practice of covering the mouth (a good idea, for other reasons). How viruses do their dirty work; scientific breakthroughs (the aerosol theory replaced by the notion of hand-to-hand and nose and eye contact; isolation of 200+ cold viruses); and treatments as they have changed through time (bloodletting, prayer, ancient Chinese tea--and a modern commercial remedy with the same active ingredient as the tea) are all discussed. The many charts have truly helpful hints for staying well. One of the most informative and fascinating in this series--a book with universal interest. Resources; bibliography; glossary; index.