Question: Does flying in an airplane increase my likelihood of catching a cold or getting the flu?
Answer: Well, I think anytime that you are in a crowd of people, the risk that you might catch a cold or catch the flu, is increased. We tend to catch these illnesses from other people. And so when you're in a crowd, the likelihood that you'll come in contact with somebody who's infected naturally goes up.
The types of interactions that we have amongst adults in these kinds of situations are usually not the types of interactions that are associated with the transmission of cold viruses, however, since those viruses generally are associated with very direct contact.
Influenza, on the other hand, is spread by aerosols, which is when the virus gets into the air. And so, when you're in a crowd with somebody who has influenza, your risk of catching influenza does go up.
The types of interactions that are associated with colds are more typically the types of interactions that we have with children, where the interaction is more direct and maybe less guarded. And those situations are the situations in which you're most likely to catch a cold.