We live in a world where the cold virus (rhinovirus) lingers on 35% of surfaces touched by unwashed hands – and that is many surfaces, say scientists from the University of Virginia Health System, USA. Even 18 hours after being touched by dirty hands, scientists detected traces of the rhinovirus. The rhinovirus is responsible for about half of all common colds in children and adults.

In the USA adults usually catch about two colds a year – children catch about seven to ten. The greatest spreaders of the common cold are infants and children.

The researchers went through hotel rooms with a tooth comb, searching for the presence of the cold virus on the surfaces of door handles, light switches, telephones, TV remotes and pens, among other things.

The scientists concluded that whatever you touch in a hotel room, you run a 50% chance of coming into contact with, and picking up a cold virus. If the surface has been touched within the last hour the risk jumps to 60%, and down to about 33% if the last human contact with grubby hands was 18 hours ago.

Humans are much more susceptible to catching a cold if they are in direct contact with an infected person. However, this study showed that exposure to the rhinovirus can continue for at least one day.

In the UK 120 million cases of the common cold are confirmed each year. Over the next few weeks 420,000 British people will visit their GP (general practitioner – primary care physician) complaining of a cold. As summer warmth in the northern hemisphere makes way to autumn (fall) temperatures, the season for colds takes a giant leap. Infections tend to peak during late September and then again in January (also periods when kids go back to school).

In today’s world of modern medicine and scientific breakthroughs, a cure for the common cold still eludes us.

Many public health experts say that the problem is getting worse, as our diets get worse, our cities become more crowded and our lifestyles become more stressful.

Click below to see article from the University of Virginia Health System:
“Traveling Soon – UVA Researchers Find That Hotel Guests With Colds Can Leave Their Germs Behind After Check Out”

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today