Dr. Justin Pollack, ND
Viruses cause cold and flu, in fact what we call the 'Flu' is short for influenza virus. Over 200 different viruses can initiate a cold, including rhinoviruses, RSV, adenoviruses, and even several inocuous coronaviruses. Many biologists don't consider viruses to be alive, since they require a living cell's 'machinery' to make copies of themselves. They can persist in fluids, like respiratory droplets for varying amounts of time. That said, viruses are fragile and die with simple soap and water when on your hands or exposed surfaces. Antibacterial soaps are overkill. Antibiotics are useless against them, since viruses slip into, and are hidden inside our own cells. If used against a virus, antibiotics can weaken the immune system by damaging digestive flora balance and leaving a person at greater risk for infection. One of the most effective ways our body has to kill virus, is to create a fever of over 101°Fahrenheit to 'cook them out.'
Since 2002, there have been three new beta corona viruses that have attached to receptors deep in human lungs / respiratory tracts, triggering inflammatory immune responses. For some, this creates a deadly ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) response.
Can you get it twice? Probably not, but we won't know for a couple years as scientists and epidemiologists track the effects of COVID-19. Immunity developed to an influenza virus is lifelong. That said, influenza is a sloppy replicator, and every year there are many new "mutations" to influenza virus that could cause a person to get a new flu. Weak “cold-causing” coronavirus immunity lasts about a year. Immunity developed to SARS and MERS lasted several years on average.