If you have lung disease, you may want to take a pass on visits from your grandchildren when they're sniffling and sneezing. A small, new study tells us that the risk of suffering from cold symptoms like sore throat, cough and runny nose increases if you've been around school-age kids.

Adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who catch colds but who haven't been around any kids tend not to have such symptoms—and often don't even know they have a cold. Researchers followed 110 COPD patients for a year and found that those who had direct contact with children were twice as likely to become infected with human rhinovirus (the bug that causes most common colds) and suffer more symptoms than patients who weren't exposed to kids.

This was unexpected; the researchers expected to see an uptick in symptoms in patients with more severe disease or patients who were older, but the only common factor that seemed to worsen their symptoms was exposure to children. Even though you may find it difficult, try to avoid direct contact with sick kids—and don't forget to wash your hands often, too.

Source: Journal of Clinical Virology, vol. 55, p. 3433; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 17 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 17 Jul 2013