London: The organisms that live inside your nose could determine the type and severity of the cold symptoms you develop, a new study has found.
Researchers say that people with more bacteria in their noses that causes lower respiratory tract infections, food poisoning and boils are also more likely to cough and sneeze when they get the common cold, Daily Mail reported Thursday.
Past evidence has shown that the bacteria found in the gut can influence innate immune responses.
The team from the University of Virginia School of Medicine says their findings shed fresh light on the elusive common cold and could pave the way to individualized treatments for the virus.
For the study, the team looked at the nasal microbiome of 152 participants both before and after injecting them with rhinovirus type 39, a common cold virus. This was to confirm the collection of bacteria wouldn't be greatly altered after they got sick.
To analyze the microbiome, researchers took nasal swabs and stool samples and evaluated them - and symptoms - over the next five days. The team found that the nasal bacteria could fall into one of six patterns - and symptom severity depended on which the pattern the volunteer had.
The pattern was also associated with viral load, or the amount rhinovirus in the body.
Findings showed that cold sufferers whose noses had a great deal of Staphylococcus bacteria had more severe nasal symptoms than those with less staph. This bacteria can cause boils, food poisoning, impetigo and toxic shock syndrome.
In addition, those with more Moraxella - which causes lowers respiratory tract infections - also had worse symptoms and a greater viral load. These differences in symptoms were despite the fact that the participants' colds were caused by the same viral strain.
Researchers admitted they were surprised by their discovery.
"The first surprise was that you can kind of identify these different buckets that people kind of fit into," said Dr Ronald Turner, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
"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. So the background microbiome, the background bacterial pattern in your nose, had influences on the way that you reacted to the virus and how sick you got", he added.
Dr Turner said there could also be environmental elements that are at play.
"Whether you're exposed to pollution or whether you're allergic or whether any number of things might impact it, I don't know," he said.
"But I suspect there is some interaction among the host and the environment and the pathogen that determines what you end up with", he said.
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