Cold viruses are almost always present in the environment. But the following factors can increase your chances of getting a cold:
April 17, 2013
- Age. Infants and preschool children are especially susceptible to common colds because they haven't yet developed resistance to most of the viruses that cause them. But an immature immune system isn't the only thing that makes kids vulnerable. They also tend to spend lots of time with other children and frequently aren't careful about washing their hands and covering their mouths and noses when they cough and sneeze. Colds in newborns can be problematic if they interfere with nursing or breathing through the nose.
- Immunity. As you age, you develop immunity to many of the viruses that cause common colds. You'll have colds less frequently than you did as a child. However, you can still come down with a cold when you are exposed to cold viruses or have a weakened immune system. All of these factors increase your risk of a cold.
- Time of year. Both children and adults are more susceptible to colds in fall and winter. That's because children are in school and most people spend a lot of time indoors. In warmer climates where cold weather doesn't keep people inside, colds are more frequent in the rainy season.
- Fashner J, et al. Treatment of the common cold in adults and children. American Family Physician. 2012;86:153.
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- Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
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- Public health advisory: FDA recommends that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products not be used for infants and children under 2 years of age. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/postmarketdrugsafetyinformationforpatientsandproviders/drugsafetyinformationforheathcareprofessionals/publichealthadvisories/ucm051137.htm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
- What to do in a medical emergency: Fever. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=242&terms=fever. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
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- Linde K, et al. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000530.pub2/abstract. Accessed Jan. 10, 2013.
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- The flu, the common cold and complementary health practices. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/flu/ataglance.htm. Accessed Jan. 9, 2013.
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