The Checkup: Kids Help Parents Catch Fewer Colds

Adults with kids in tow are half as likely to catch a cold than non-parents.

• Am I the only one who’s noticed that a lot of people have come down with colds recently? Something’s going around, that’s for sure, and parents should be thanking their lucky stars. Why? Because new research found that adults with kids face half the risk of catching a cold after being exposed to viruses than their non-parent counterparts. Researchers analyzed data from 795 healthy subjects who were intentionally exposed to cold-causing viruses; a third went on to develop colds. Researchers found that, after adjusting for other factors, parents faced a 52 percent lower risk for developing a cold, and the more kids they had, the lower their risk. And even parents with grown kids—ones whose kids don’t live at home anymore—demonstrated less of a risk for catching cold. Interestingly …

That might be expected on the basis of immunity — kids get colds, and parents may develop protective antibodies against the specific viruses causing those colds. However, the lower risk of colds in parents could not be explained by pre-existing immunity, based on levels of antibodies to the study viruses. Parents were less likely to develop colds whether or not they had protective levels of antibodies.

In other words, researchers have no idea why parents are the lucky ones here. Care to take a guess?

• Did you know the best time of day to work out is between 5 and 6 p.m.? Learn why over at Real Simple in its article, “The Best Time of Day to Do Just About Everything.” (Other topics covered: taking a nap, asking for a raise, popping a multivitamin and more.)

• The media’s favorite made-up word, “sexting,” is in the headlines again thanks to a new study which found that one in four teenagers has done it. *Sigh*