Predisposing factors that increase one’s risk for getting a cold aren’t really known.
Chilling the body surface doesn’t by itself induce colds, and the ease of acquiring a cold doesn’t correlate clearly with fitness, nutritional health or upper airway abnormalities (such as enlarged tonsils).
However, contracting a cold virus may be facilitated by fatigue, emotional distress or allergies.
Risk factors include:
- Exposure to someone with a cold.
- Age (babies and young children are at greatest risk).
- Weakened immune system due to illness such as HIV or cancer, using certain medications (e.g. long-term steroid use), or organ transplantation.
- Season: Colds are more common in autumn and winter.
- Cigarette smoking.
Reviewed by Cape Town-based general practitioner, Dr Dalia Hack. March 2019.