Expatriates might have curtailed their likelihood of visiting an international healthcare specialist after suffering from a cold if they have had children, new research has shown.
The study, which was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine and led by Sheldon Cohen and Rodlescia Sneed of Carnegie Mellon University, found mums and dads are 52 per cent less likely to develop the common cold after being exposed to the virus than people without offspring.
Scientists brought 795 healthy adults into contact with the disease and recorded the parenthood status of participants, as well as a number of controls, including the viral strain, season, ethnicity, education, body mass, season, age, race and gender of all subjects.
Further analysis was made of their martial and employment records.
They discovered adults with one or two offspring had cut their likelihood of contracting a cold by 48 per cent, with this rising to 61 per cent among those with three children, with protection remaining for those whose sons and daughters had left home.
Parents over the age of 24 were found to be better protected than the average person, although having children did not appear to alter the likelihood of people aged between 18 and 24 sustaining a cold.
There are more than 200 viruses related to this condition, with common symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, a cough and a sore throat.
Typically, the infection is self-limiting, meaning the immune system overcomes the ailment without the sufferer having to receive treatment through expatriate health insurance policies.
According to the UK's National Health Service, the average child has between three and eight colds every year, while adults generally contract the condition two to four times annually.
"We expect that a psychological benefit of parenthood that we did not measure may have been responsible [for the reduced risk]," Mr Cohen said.
"Being a parent can be stressful, but at the same time can be fulfilling, facilitate the development of a social network and provide purpose in life," he noted.