Can You Catch the Same Cold Twice?

No one wants to deal with the common cold, as the coughing, sneezing, chills, and headaches can easily make life difficult for you. Unfortunately, you cannot do much about the issue, as there are so many bugs floating around and there is no single cure to treat the symptoms. What makes matter worse is that when you just recovered from your previous cold, it gets back again! Then you wonder, is it really possible that the same strain of cold virus hits you more than once? Let's find out now!

Can You Catch the Same Cold Twice?

The simple answer is no. It is usually not possible to become infected with the same strain of the common cold virus twice because you develop immunity after being hit once. Your body releases antibodies to clear the infection, and these antibodies protect you from catching the same virus again. Even if you become infected again with the same virus, the sickness is usually very mild.

However, bear in mind that there are so many types of cold viruses that it is not possible to tell if you have already been infected with a particular one in the past. The same holds true for other viruses, such as the flu and viruses responsible for causing gastroenteritis. The influenza virus has the ability to mutate, which is the reason why your last year's flu shot may no longer be effective this year with different strains of virus going around.

How to Prevent Getting Cold Again

Can you catch the same cold twice? You already know the answer. However, it is equally important to learn how you prevent a cold and save yourself from running into a lot of trouble. Here are some preventive measures to take:

  • Be sure to get enough sleep every night. Scoring quality sleep is important to keep your immune system healthy. Research shows that sleep deprivation can derail T-cell functioning and increase inflammation in the body. This affects your ability to fight the flu and colds.
  • Include more plant food in your diet. Eating veggies, fruits, and whole grains will provide you with antioxidants that help repair cellular damage and boost your immune system as well.
  • Manage stress in a better way. Long-term stress can lead to so many problems. It causes a buildup of stress hormones in your body that affects the production of white blood cells and weakens your immune system over time. This hurts your body's ability to fight off infections.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Keeping your body hydrated is important to prevent common infections. You can drink hot tea, soup, and other steamy liquids if you already have a sore throat. 

Other FAQs on Cold

Can you catch the same cold twice? It is definitely a common question but people also have other confusions regarding colds. Here is more for your understanding.

1. How Do You Become Infected with Common Cold Viruses?

Unlike what people think, you do not catch cold just because of working in cold temperature. You can have other issues like frostbite, but a cold is not always due to the cold weather. You may become infected though if your friend who is already infected sneezes on a snowball and throws it in your face.

Similarly, someone who is infected may sneeze on his/her hand and then transfer those germs to any surface that they touch. You will catch a cold if you touch the same surface. The reason why you are more susceptible to catching a cold in winter is that droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel easily on a cold day than on a humid one.  Keep in mind that viruses can stay on surfaces such as doorknobs, telephones, elevators, etc., for long, so using disinfectants may help prevent colds from spreading.

2. How Long Does It Take to Recover Completely?

You usually start to feel better in a few days and recover mostly in about seven days. It may take longer in case your cold is due to multiple bugs. If it lasts longer and you notice other symptoms such as facial pain, a worsening cough, or a fever, this may indicate a more serious problem. Also, see your doctor if you have fever and sore throat that do not improve after three days.

3. Can Air Travel Make You Sick?

Yes, it is very much possible, especially if someone who is infected is sitting within six feet distance from your seat. An infected person can cough and sneeze to transmit germs into the dry air and you can become infected if you inhale those tiny droplets. You are more likely to breathe those germs in because the air is re-circulated in an airplane. Using a saline nasal spray and drinking lots of water may help you greatly.

4. Can You Exercise When You Have a Cold?

Before you exercise with a cold, you should do a "neck check". It means you should check where your symptoms are. You can work out if your symptoms are above your neck – you may have a headache, a stuffy nose, or even a mildly sore throat. Avoid exercising if your symptoms are below the neck and you have a fever, a cough, chills, or body aches.

5. Is It Possible to Become Sick after Going Out with Wet Hair in the Winter?

Keep in mind that exposure to cold temperatures is not the reason why you become sick; in fact, you become sick when you are exposed to an infection. However, you are more likely to catch an infection in winter because your body is already working hard to keep you warm, so your immune system may fail to protect you completely. Therefore, it is better to dry your hair first and then go out in the cold.

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