10/05/2012 04:47 pm ET

Exposure To Kids Raises Risk Of Cold Symptoms Among Lung Disease Patients: Study

For every parent who's suspected that their kids' germs are super-powerful when it comes to making people sick, here's a study that suggests they may be right.

New research in the Journal of Clinical Virology shows that people with lung disease are twice as likely to develop cold-like symptoms (you know, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and the like) if they've been exposed to kids.

"We all know that children are efficient germ-spreading vectors," study researcher Dr. Ann Falsey, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester, said in a statement. "And we know that young children oftentimes don’t have ideal hygiene habits. It's not unusual for them to accidentally sneeze in your face, for instance. If you have a grandchild who is sick, it may simply be smart to plan a visit for another day."

Even though researchers said they weren't completely sure why this is the case, it's a known fact that when kids come down with a cold, they shed the virus for a longer period of time.

"It may be that your chance of developing cold symptoms is related to the amount of virus you're exposed to, and if you're around small children, you're exposed to more virus," Falsey said in the statement. "The idea makes sense, but it's speculation at this point."

The study included 127 people with the lung disease emphysema. They were examined six times over a one-year period, and provided nasal secretions and/or sputum samples to the researchers to provide a bank of 1,000 samples.

Surprisingly, researchers also found that emphysema patients who were receiving home oxygen were less likely to fall sick with the cold-like symptoms than the emphysema patients not on home oxygen.



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