Flu or the common cold: the body’s response to influenza can block other viruses as well, according to new study

There is good news for anyone concerned that catching the flu or cold could ruin the festive season. People are much less likely to sneeze and cough during the cold days. Scientists suspect that the flu season protects people from colds. One study looked at the dramatic annual drop in the common cold rate between October and May.

Either flu or cold

Woman lying in bed with flu or cold and fever blocking rhinovirus

Scientists have found that people infected with the flu, three-quarters of whom do not get sick, may be protected against the rhinovirus, which is the leading cause of colds. So you would have to be particularly unlucky to catch a cold and catch the flu at the same time. In fact, the researchers found that having the flu reduced the chances of getting infected with a cold virus.

In a nine-year study of 36,000 people with viruses in their airways, researchers found that only eight percent of them contracted two viruses at the same time. Patients with the flu were 70 percent less likely to catch a cold than those with other viruses.

While it’s important for vulnerable people like children, over 65s, and pregnant women to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves from dangerous complications, healthy adults must take risks. However, there may be an advantage now. Experts believe that the body’s response to the flu in the airways can block the infection from the cold virus.

Optimistic research results

Influenza vaccination is carried out annually by the health organization

“It is a remarkable finding from our study that the rhinovirus, which normally causes the common cold, decreases in winter as the flu activity increases. “Just as lions and hyenas compete for food resources in the Masai Mara, we believe that such viruses could compete for resources in the respiratory tract. "Or it may be that the immune response to the flu also fends off colds." That’s what Dr. Sema Nickbakhsh, lead author of the study by the University of Glasgow’s Center for Virus Research.

small child with cold or flu fighting influenza virus with medication

This is the first study in patients who have been tested for 11 viruses simultaneously over a long period of time. If both viruses have problems at the same time, this could explain why children under the age of five are more likely to get colds. So older students belong to the age group that is more likely to suffer from the flu.

Experts built computer models of eleven viral infections for nine years and found that only influenza A, a strain that includes swine flu, and rhinovirus were rarely found together. This could explain why colds decreased during the 2009 swine flu outbreak. So the flu could be cells in the airways as well "door" on the outside that lets in other viruses.

The body produces a chemical called interferon for colds as a short-lived immune response caused by the flu for the first few days. This can also offer protection against colds. “My team is currently conducting experiments to understand how viruses, including influenza and rhinovirus, interact. That’s what Dr. Pablo Murcia, Senior Research Author at the University of Glasgow.

flu and cold cannot exist in the body at the same time

"If we understand how viruses interact and how certain viral infections favor or inhibit one another, we may be able to develop better ways to fight viruses off." You can find the link to the study here.