Can you get the cold and flu at the same time?

(Adam Townsend/ MedicineNet Health News) — Getting a cold and the flu at the same time is possible. And while it sounds awful, it hardly ever happens, according to a new study from the UK. Rhinoviruses that cause colds and influenza viruses that cause flu are locked in a death struggle for your respiratory real estate, so much so that the flu usually kicks rhinoviruses, well, out in the cold.

“Our key finding shows that competition with flu in winter may explain why cold infections tend to diminish during winter seasons,” Dr. Sema Nickbakhsh, a researcher at University of Glasgow, said in a press release.

“One really striking pattern in our data is the decline in cases of the respiratory virus rhinovirus, which is typically a mild common cold-causing virus, occurring during winter, around the time that flu activity increases. In the same way as lions and spotted hyenas compete for food resources, we believe respiratory viruses may be competing for resources in the respiratory tract.” (…)

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