I have a quote from a book I have (Guinea Piglopaedia)- "There are only a few diseases that can be transmitted from Guinea Pigs to humans. The most serious are salmonella and yersinia bacteria, which cause scours and intestinal infections...Ringworm causes skin disease in many mammals..."
And that's all it says about the issue! It doesn't even mention guinea pigs catching illnesses from humans. From a little research it seems that other sources are in agreement and state that transmission of infection between human and guinea pig is extremely rare.
I am not a doctor, but I have studied virology and epidemiology for my work.
There are reasons why guinea pigs are used in medical research, and one of them is that they have very similar immune systems. Guinea pigs will not catch a cold virus from people. However, they are quite succeptable to bacterial infections that come along with your cold.
A cold virus weakens your resistance to other bacteria so they will often accompany a cold. Mucus color is a good indication of whether you have more than just a viral cold.
Mucus colors and meanings -
Clear or light yellow - probably viral only.
Dark yellow - likely bacterial, like sinus infection or pneumonia
Green - Bacterial infection
Gray - you are a smoker
Brown - you either smoke or same as Dark Yellow
Bloody - you have big problems go to the emergency room.
Anything other than clear or light yellow means your pigs could be in great danger from your sickness.
So flu isn't a contagion problem for pigs?
If your pigs have ANY color of mucus you need to get them to the vet ASAP.
There are a couple of rodent-human illnesses that can be transmitted back and forth but I believe in those situations usually it's the human you have to worry about!
Either way, roguebantha (nice user name by the way!) I would not be too worried about him getting your cold.
Do you have a scale to weigh him on regularly? If you get a kitchen scale and weigh him once a week you will be able to notice abrupt weight loss and catch any illness before it gets too bad. Great for peace of mind and monitoring health.
I've noticed a decay in proper food hygiene here. Cleaning work tops, washing hands after going to the oval porcelain office is something that's becoming less and less used.
I go to the grocery store and I see food on the floor all over, when they are unpacking, just plain gross. There has been a real outbreak of gastroenteritis amongst Belgians here the past two years, no wonder.
Hub works at a humongous hospital and they give training to people on how to be hygienic on a regular basis. Even lots of hospital staff isn't used to washing their hands, bweeeeeeeerk.
I have been a manager in the food industry in the past, so I know proper hygiene, but I still have caught it several times the past two years from eating out. I hope that the scare of the Mexican flu will make people aware of being hygienic again, but I don't have my hopes up.
Thanks for all your comments, it's reassuring to know it seems very unlikely I will have passed it on.
I am still only at the sore throat/ clear-yellow phlegm phase myself (lovely!), and the incident I was particularly worried about was the day before I showed any symptoms at all. Boris is still fine, so fingers crossed. I just know how bad they can get if they do catch something bacterial, and I had heard somewhere that people can be very contagious in the early stages.
Boris says hi, he is having his floor time and has just come up to play, so I had better go! But no more than stroking from a distance (with clean hands of course!).