You’ll no doubt have heard by now about the importance of bacteria for good gut health, but did you know you also have influential bacteria living in your nose?
In fact these little nasal critters could be the reason why you’ve had a terrible cold for the last few days, while other people in the office managed to brush it off.

New research examining nasal bacteria has revealed that people with higher levels of Staphlococcus had worse symptoms than cold sufferers with less, despite having caught the same virus.

The researchers were able to separate people into six categories, based on the pattern of their nasal microbiomes. Which category you fall into may suggest how much you suffer when you get ill.

This discovery was unexpected, even by the researchers! ‘The first surprise was that you can kind of identify these different buckets that people kind of fit into, and then the fact that the buckets seem to have some impact on how you respond to the virus and how sick you get was also interesting,’ said Ronald B. Turner, MD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

While your nose bacteria aren’t the cause of your colds, there’s a distinct relation to which bacteria you have, and how quickly you get well again. What researchers aren’t sure about is whether both of these things are genetic, or whether the bacteria are responsible for the effects of colds.

They also investigated whether probiotics would change the composition of participants’ nasal microbiomes, but this turned out not to work.