Parents less likely to catch colds

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Being a parent reduces your risk of catching a cold — possibly because of unknown “psychological or behavioral differences between parents and nonparents,” according to a study in the July issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society.

The risk of becoming ill after exposure to cold viruses is reduced by about half in parents compared to nonparents, regardless of pre-existing immunity, according to research led by Rodlescia S. Sneed, MPH, and Sheldon Cohen, PhD of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. The study suggests that other, yet unknown factors related to being a parent may affect susceptibility to illness.

The researchers analyzed data on 795 adults from three previous studies of stress and social factors affecting susceptibility to the common cold. In those studies, healthy volunteers were given nose drops containing cold-causing rhinovirus or influenza viruses.

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