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By effective advantage I mean that if I catch a cold now and then recover fully, does this actually reduce my probability of catching a future cold. I understand that the body can build up anti-bodies and such, but pathogens also have the ability to mutate and I would assume that anti-bodies levels decrease over long periods of time. I am not a biologist! So feel free to correct my poor assumptions.

Thus taking those factors into account, are there models or data to argue that catching a cold gives me a future advantage over avoiding the cold altogether?

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Short answer: no.

The "cold" is a common term for symptoms caused by dozens of different viruses. Even the canonical "cold" virus (rhinovirus) has large numbers of strains.

Exception to the short answer: Getting a cold might be effective against similar strains of the same virus.

Most of the time, future colds will be due to a different strain or a different virus. Best protection is to block unused/vulnerable receptors in the nose.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you cite something so I can read more? A Wikipedia article or two would be fine. $\endgroup$ – aidan.plenert.macdonald Aug 4 '17 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ Read the "Rhinovirus" and "Common cold" articles on Wikipedia. $\endgroup$ – user1258361 Aug 4 '17 at 15:53

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