Lifestyles Center Blog

HUMP DAY: COLD & FLU MYTHS

Have you ever heard your parents tell you that you need to wear a scarf, hat, and gloves, when you go outdoors in the cold weather to prevent yourself from getting sick? Although it is important to bundle up when you go outside, does the cold weather actually cause sickness?

Answer: NO…colds and flus are caused by VIRUSES

It is germs that make you sick. There is actually no direct connection between being cold and getting sick. Current research offers many possibilities to why colds and the flu are more common during the colder seasons, some suggesting that cold temperatures may contribute.

 

Remaining indoors makes it easier for viruses to spread

A possible reason is that we are more likely to stay inside to avoid the cold weather. This means we are surrounded by each other closely and more often. Also the air indoors is recycled more than outside. These factors make it easier for the virus to spread.

It is also suggested that being outside in cold weather may affect your mucus’s and nasal hairs’ ability to fight germs out of your nose. So when you return indoors, with others sniffling as well, you are more likely to be exposed to germs.

 

Possible effects of dry air

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), dry winter air allows the flu virus to survive and transmit itself. Research shows that the flu virus becomes more resistant around freezing point. However, there are other researchers, who believe that although moist air can help with congestion, the dry air doesn’t cause sickness.

It is still important to dress warmly

In cold temperatures, if your body is losing too much heat you can get hypothermia. You will begin to shiver, become confused and possibly lose consciousness. For this reason, it is still important to dress appropriately in the winter.

 

If you are interested in knowing more check out these sites:

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/does-cold-weather-make-you-sick

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/expert-answers/infectious-disease/faq-20057907

 

Nicole Montera, Peer Educator