Can You Catch a Cold from the Cold?

January 20, 2015

All of us have heard at one time or another that being cold gives you a cold. Then we hear that the temperature can’t get you sick, only germs can get you sick. Well, guess what – we are back to the cold temperature can cause a cold.

Lab studies with mice have found even a little bit of a lower temperature will speed up the ability of the rhinovirus to multiply. Cold weather will also kick off immune system changes that help the virus multiply.

ColdThe rhinovirus has been found to thrive when the temperature is less than what the human body stays at normally. That means, if you sneeze on a railing outside in the frosty air, that virus is on its ideal vacation. They grow and they multiply, then a new host or person will come along and touch the rail, covering their hand in your cold virus. Then what else do we usually touch?  Our nose, our mouth, our eyes. Now that virus is on a new vacation, or it is at home and unpacks for a week or two!

When you go out in the cold, the most important thing is to keep your mouth and nose covered. When a virus enters your nasal passages and the cold air you breathe in hits it, it makes you more likely to get sick. Keeping covered, however, is a better option than waiting to breathe until the air is warm again.