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Blame It on Your Nose

As common as the cold is (After all, it’s referred to as the “common cold.”), it’s surprising how little we know about it. Maybe that’s why there’s no cure. However, researchers have recently revealed that the severity of the symptoms a person might experience due to a cold could be linked to the type of bacteria in their nose.

How Bacteria in the Nose Affects Cold Symptoms

Researchers studied 152 participants by analyzing their nasal bacteria. The participants were studied before and after being infected with the same cold virus. It was determined that participants who had the most Staphylococcus bacteria in their noses suffered the most severe cold symptoms. The mix of bacteria in their noses was also linked to how much of the virus was in their body. This means that the background bacterial pattern in the participants’ noses influenced how they reacted to the virus and how sick they got.

While these findings are certainly interesting, they don’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the type of bacteria in a person’s nose and the severity of symptoms. This is because there are also environmental characteristics that can influence the severity of cold symptoms. For example, you could be exposed to pollution or have certain allergies that could differentiate your symptoms.

Can Probiotics Lessen Cold Symptoms?

During the study, participants were given probiotics to determine whether beneficial bacteria could help reduce their cold symptoms or affect the composition of the bacteria in their noses. According to the results, the probiotics had no effect on either the symptoms or the bacteria, nor did it affect the microbiomes in the stomach.

Even though the probiotics didn’t work, understanding the potential link between nasal bacteria and cold symptoms could lead to improved cold relief medications. The researchers are currently considering using probiotics in a nasal spray, a more direct approach that could have a positive effect.

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