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Is it possible to have the flu and a cold at the same time? © Getty Images

Is it possible to have the flu and a cold at the same time?

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Cold and flu season do tend to overlap, after all...

Asked by: Erin Beach, Inverness


Flu and common colds are caused by different families of viruses, so it’s possible to have both in your body at the same time. But a lot of your immune response to one virus also makes conditions inhospitable for any other virus, so it is less likely that a second infection will take hold while you are fighting the first.

This so-called antiviral state doesn’t protect you against bacterial infections though. A lot of the deaths from flu are actually due to secondary bacterial pneumonia infections that can take hold while your immune system is busy fighting the flu.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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