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Common Cold All Too Easy To Catch

, particularly when interacting with cold sufferers. What they may not be aware of, and the study shows, is the need for good personal and surface hygiene even when an ill person is not present, because germs can survive on surfaces long after a person is gone," said co-author Joe Rubino, MA, Director of Global Surface Care, Research and Development, Support Sciences, Reckitt-Benckiser, Inc. Montvale, N.J., which supported the study.

Study Methods

To test contamination in the study, 15 adults exhibiting symptoms of rhinovirus infection remained awake in a hotel room for at least five hours prior to sleeping overnight, followed by at least two hours of activity in the room before a morning checkout. All were asked to perform normal activities. Participants received food via room service and no other individuals entered the rooms.

At check-in, participants blew their noses with a facial tissue immediately after entering the room and, then, investigators tested participant fingertips for rhinovirus contamination. At check-out, the participants identified objects that they had touched and the frequency. After departure, researchers tested 10 objects for residual virus.

To test viral transfer from surface to fingertips, researchers collected vials of infectious nasal secretions from each participant at the study start. Then, two to four months after their colds ended, five of the same participants individually touched three contaminated surfaces in a hotel room. Participants were exposed to only their own infectious secretion, to which they had acquired immunity during their preceding infection.

Two sets of contaminated sites were used, with one set having spots allowed to dry for one hour and the second, overnight. Before touching any of the sites, participants washed their hands with Ivory(R) soap and water and then dried them with paper towels. Investigators then tested the participants' clean fingertips for
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