If cold symptoms are the body’s immune response to fight a cold virus, do cold remedies that reduce symptoms hinder the body’s ability to fight off the virus and actually increase the cold’s duration?

Answered by Alan Jensen, Registered Pharmacist Many medications can be used to treat the symptoms of a cold or flu. I am going to restrict my comments to the five categories of medications found in most over the counter cold and flu remedies. They are pain and fever reducers, nasal decongestants, antihistamines, cough suppressants and…

Do badgers hibernate in the winter?

Question answered by Bryan Bybee, Biologist, INL ESER Program The simple answer is that badgers do not hibernate. Hibernation is a seasonal behavior pattern characterized by long periods of reduced body temperature, inactivity, lowered heart and breathing rates, and suppressed metabolism. Body temperatures may be reduced to nearly that of the surroundings. By this definition,…

Do hibernating squirrels and marmots have better resistance to cold than other mammals, even before they enter hibernation? It seems like they would be too cold to sleep all winter.

Question Answered by Greg Burak, Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service,  Boise Office That is a great question!  During hibernation, ground squirrels, such as the northern Idaho ground squirrel, enter long periods of time when they are inactive and sleeping.  This is called torpor.  While in torpor, the body temperature of a ground squirrel is about…

Do insects sleep?

Answered by Jessica Fultz, Entomologist, Idaho State University Nearly all insects go through cycles of activity and inactivity the most common being the 24 daily cycle; the circadian (around a day) cycle.  The circadian cycle is like an internal clock that is set by periods of dark and light.  When active, insects are looking for…