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Health Official: Playing Poker Is Greater Cold Risk Than Kissing

October 31, 1986

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) _ While kissing may be a health gamble, there’s a greater risk of catching a cold while playing poker, according to a specialist in infectious diseases.

″It’s a common myth that kissing spreads colds,″ says Dr. Timothy Sankary of San Francisco. ″But some very interesting studies have been done where cold-free people kiss people with colds and the bug just didn’t spread.″

On the other hand, Sankary said people playing cards where some of the players have a cold is a reliable way to spread the virus by touching the cards handled by an infected player.

Even hand-shaking spreads colds faster than kissing, he said.

One of the reasons colds don’t transmit too easily in kissing, Sankary said, is that the body’s digestive acids act as an immobilizing factor for the virus, ″so people don’t swallow the common cold, so to speak, as much as they get it through nose infections.″

To avoid catching a cold, people should wash hands frequently, not touch the face, eyes or nose, and use tissues instead of a handkerchief.

″Carrying a handkerchief in your pocket is like carrying a cold in your pocket,″ he said, adding that tissues should be discarded immediately after use.

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