Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ambul Pediatr. 2002 Jul-Aug;2(4):261-7.

Is there a common cold constitution?

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics and the Steele Memorial Children's Research Center, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 85724-5073, USA.



Constitutional factors might play a role in the susceptibility to clinical illness during the common cold. This study seeks to determine if the likelihood of developing frequent common colds persists during childhood.


The Tucson Children's Respiratory Study involves 1246 children enrolled at birth and followed prospectively since 1980 and 1984. Parents reported the occurrence of frequent (> or =4) colds during the past year by questionnaire at 2, 3, 6, 8, 11, and 13 years of age. Blood for ex vivo interferon-gamma responses was obtained at 9 months and 11 years of age.


After adjustment for potential confounding variables, children with frequent colds at year 2 or 3 were twice as likely to experience frequent colds at year 6 (relative risk [RR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.1-3.9), year 8 (RR, 2.6; 95% CI, 2.1-3.3), year 11 (RR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.8-3.1), and year 13 (RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.4-3.3) compared with children who had infrequent colds at years 2 and 3. At 9 months of age, children who ultimately experienced persistent frequent colds had lower interferon-gamma titers than children without persistent frequent colds (3.05 +/- 1.61 vs 3.74 +/- 1.39, P =.016); this finding persisted at 11 years of age.


These data suggest the existence of a common cold constitution, whereby some children are more susceptible to infection and/or the expression of clinical symptoms when infected than are other children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk