No, you don't need a scientist to tell you this, but a new study confirms that one of your best cold prevention techniques is to avoid spending time around school-aged children.
Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that people with lung disease were much more likely to catch cold viruses if they spent time around children, and while that's not breaking news, what is interesting is that the colds caught from children were more likely to bring symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat and cough. (Interestingly, the researchers learned that one third of people infected with rhinovirus—aka the common cold—had no symptoms.)
So, not only are children germy to begin with, it seems that their germs are more virulent than adults'—the researchers ponder that this may be because children have had fewer years to build up their immunities, so they get sicker and shed more virus. And, of course, kids aren't dedicated hand washers or nose blowers or cough cover-ers.
What does this mean for you if you're a grandparent or teacher or otherwise spend time with wee ones? Well, the study only looked at adults with lung diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and emphysema, so if you suffer from one of those illnesses you should be extra careful to avoid your little friends when they're sick, and even when they don't appear outwardly ill you should of course wash your hands during and after your play session.
Even if you don't suffer from lung disease, this study does give you a reason to say "maybe next time" if you're invited to a house with a sick kid, and might steel your resolve to say no the next time your babysitting services are requested. On the other hand, when you want to spend time with your favorite little people, just wash your hands a lot, don't touch your face and try not to worry about it.
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