16/02/2015 07:05 GMT | Updated 16/02/2015 07:59 GMT

You Can't Catch A Cold From Kissing, But You Can from Holding Hands, Says Expert

Rearview shot of an affectionate young couple wrapped in a blanket at their campsite
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Rearview shot of an affectionate young couple wrapped in a blanket at their campsite

When a loved-one has the sniffles, most of us will avoid giving them a kiss, regardless of snotty they may look.

But according to a leading professor, you can't catch a cold by kissing.

In fact, you're more likely to catch a cold by holding someone's hand than locking lips, he says.

A recent survey of 1,000 people conducted by Otrivine found that 91% of Brits wrongly believe that you can catch a cold via kissing.

This has led to over half (57%) of Brits rejecting a kiss with a cold-suffering date, with women less likely to pucker up than men (70% vs 44%).

Commenting on the survey, Professor Ron Eccles, director the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University explained that the cold virus is spread through mucus, not saliva.

"The common cold virus travels in the mucus from the respiratory system, so unless you have a bad cough, and some of the respiratory mucus has made its way into your saliva, the cold virus will not be transmitted by kissing," he said.

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Despite this, 86% of those surveyed would rather hold hands with a cold suffering partner, than kiss them.

According to Eccles, this is the riskier option.

“The cold virus is transferred by contaminated fingers that pass the virus to the nose and eye. Your fingers can easily become contaminated with viruses by holding hands with someone who has coughed or sneezed into their hands, or by touching door handles in public places," he said.

"You may then touch your nose or eye and infect yourself. Tears from the eye drain via a duct into the nasal cavity and when we touch our eyes with contaminated fingers we pass viruses into the nose.

“In order for you to spread the infection you need to have close and prolonged contact with other people, to cough or sneeze on them, or pass on secretions from your nose via your hands.”

It's not just hand holding we're getting wrong when it comes to cold and flu prevention.

To find out the biggest mistakes people are making, HuffPost UK Lifestyle previously spoke to Dr Hasmukh Joshi, vice-chair of the Royal College of GPs and Pritish Tosh, an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic's Division of Infectious Diseases.

Check out their tips in the slideshow below:

Photo gallery
Cold And Flu Prevention Mistakes
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