We’ve all been lucky enough to experience a mild cold and unfortunate enough to have one that feels like it has lasted weeks. But for some, cold symptoms appear to always be worse than everyone else’s. Turns, out, this may be because of the bacteria in your nose.
Study of Nasal Bacteria
A 2018 study published in Scientific Report examined the bacteria in the noses of 152 participants, known as nasal microbiomes. The researchers were looking to see if certain bacteria would lead to worse cold symptoms and an increase in the rhinovirus in their bodies after becoming sick with a common cold.
The researchers identified six categories, or buckets, to classify people based on their nasal bacteria. According to Ronald Turner, the study author from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, “The first surprise was that you can kind of identify these different buckets that people kind of fit into, and then the fact that the buckets seem to have some impact on how you respond to the virus and how sick you get was also interesting.”
They found that the bacteria in the nose has an effect on how your body reacts to the rhinovirus and how sick you get. Participants with more Staphylococcus bacteria had worse symptoms than those with less of the staph bacteria.
Dr. Turner emphasized that it is not the bacteria in your nose causing you to catch the cold. He explains, “What we’re reporting is an association, so it’s entirely possible that the fact that you have staph in your nose and you have more symptoms is not directly related.”
Altering Your Microbiome
Once the researchers identified which microbiome was linked with worse cold symptoms, they wanted to see if altering it with probiotics could decrease the cold symptoms. Participants were instructed to drink a probiotic supplement, but unfortunately, the results were inconclusive.
The researchers note that their study opens the door to future research. One avenue to explore is if antibiotics that change the nasal microbiome could affect cold symptoms.
Standard Cold Treatments
While drinking probiotics may not be the key to decreasing your cold symptoms, there are many tried and true treatments to help you find relief from your nasal congestion, sore throat and body aches and pains. Experts recommend:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Eating a balanced diet
- Drinking water
- Staying active
To learn more about your nasal microbiome or to schedule an appointment with an ear, nose and throat doctor, contact the experts at Charleston ENT & Allergy.