Is it possible to have the flu and a cold at the same time? The scientists respond

Is it possible to have the flu and a cold at the same time? The scientists respond

In the investigation, it has come to the attention that when influenza activity picked up in the winter, rhinovirus infections (the main cold virus) decreased

With the temperatures we have these days, the rains and the winter about to fall (if we are not already living it), it is not uncommon for you to catch flu. This, which in itself is already annoying enough, can be completed with an unpleasant cold. Do not panic, according to a recent study is not as usual as it seems.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) have carried out a study, cited by Live Scicence, in which they show that having both diseases does not happen very often and that having the flu reduces the chances of suffering a cold.

“Researchers often study cold and flu viruses separately, but here we have shown that we also have to study these viruses together as if it were an ecosystem,” says Pablo Murcia, principal professor at the MRC Center for Virus Research. The aforementioned university.

Objective: kill them

According to Murcia and his team, “during certain seasons, when you have high levels of flu circulation, you are less likely to get a cold caused by rhinovirus (the main virus that causes colds).” The main objective of his research has been to better understand how different viruses interact in our body and that it serves to combat them better: “If we understand how viruses interact and how certain viral infections can favor or inhibit each other, then maybe we can develop better ways to attack viruses. ”

In their experiment, which is published in the scientific journal ‘ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ‘, researchers analyzed information from more than 36,000 people in Scotland, who provided more than 44,000 throat and nose swabs for respiratory disease testing during a nine-year period. These samples were analyzed to detect 11 types of respiratory viruses, such as rhinovirus, influenza A and B virus, respiratory syncytial virus and adenovirus.

35% tested positive for at least one virus and 8% tested positive for infection with at least two viruses, calling attention to the fact that when flu activity picked up in the winter, rhinovirus infections decreased. In addition, when researchers examined individual patients, they found that people infected with influenza A were 70% less likely to be infected with rhinovirus, compared to patients infected with other types of viruses.

Although the reason for the inhibitory effect between influenza viruses and rhinoviruses is unknown, researchers contend that these viruses may be in competition with each other for infecting our body.

“We believe that respiratory viruses may be competing for resources in the airways,” says Sema Nickbakhsh, another author of the study. “It may be that these viruses are competing to infect specific cells or that a person’s immune response to a virus makes it harder for the other virus to also cause infection,” adds Nickbakhsh, who has acknowledged that more research is needed to understand the relationship between viruses related to the flu and the cold.