The Common Cold & Weight Loss

sick woman in bed
Mucus buildup is a cold symptom. (Image: michaeljung/iStock/Getty Images)

The common cold can lead to slight weight loss because of a loss of appetite. On the other hand, a certain type of cold virus might lead to weight gain. More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold.

Identification

Woman with tissue having flu or allergy
Cold symptoms can include a runny nose, headache or sore throat. (Image: petrunjela/iStock/Getty Images)

Cold symptoms include mucus buildup in your nose, difficulty breathing through your nose, swelling of your sinuses, sneezing, sore throat, cough or headache, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Most colds occur during fall or winter. You are more likely to catch a cold if you touch a surface that has cold germs on it and then touch your eyes or nose, or if you inhale drops of mucus full of cold germs from the air.

Prevention/Solution

young dark-haired woman drinking water
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you've got the cold. (Image: Eduard Titov/iStock/Getty Images)

You can relieve common cold symptoms by resting, drinking plenty of fluids, gargling with warm saltwater, using petroleum jelly for a raw nose and taking aspirin or acetaminophen for headache or fever. To prevent catching a cold, keep your hands away from your eyes and nose. Avoid being close to people who have a cold. Wash your hands often and clean household surfaces with a virus-killing disinfectant.

Weight Loss

Woman's feet on weight scale
Loss of appetite can lead to a slight weight loss. (Image: Bine Å edivy/iStock/Getty Images)

Loss of appetite can occur when you have a cold, which can lead to a slight weight loss. This symptom is caused by a release of cytokines from the white cells that fight off infection. Cytokines are chemicals that circulate in the blood to the brain and cause fever and fatigue, in addition to loss of appetite.

Weight Gain

Child Patient Visiting Doctor's Office
Children who have a specific strain of cold virus are more likely to be obese. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

Children who have had a specific strain of a common cold virus called adenovirus 36, or AD36, might be more likely to be obese than other children, according to a 2010 study published by Charles Gabbert and colleagues in the journal Pediatrics. Out of 124 children studied, 54 percent were obese. Of the 19 children who tested positive for AD36 antibodies, 15 were obese. However, this study doesn't prove that AD36 causes obesity. Instead, it could suggest that obese children are more susceptible to AD36.

Theory

Analog weight scale
The AD36 virus might cause changes to cells in the body that lead to weight gain. (Image: Prapass Wannapinij/iStock/Getty Images)

The AD36 virus might cause changes to cells in the body that lead to weight gain, according to MSNBC. It might manipulate fat cell precursors into releasing more fat cells or be able to modify fat cells themselves so that they store more fat.

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