A big bad winter storm is on its way — and you can bet that coworkers and friends will be sneezing, coughing and sniffling and blaming it all on the weather. Well, shut it, already. It’s not the elements’ fault. Colds result from viruses — and there are dozens of them gunning for you. So no matter what Mom told you (and even in light of studies showing that temperature drops weaken the nose’s defense mechanisms) the cold doesn’t cause colds.
Science wiped that fact in people’s faces, according to “Don’t Swallow Your Gum: Myths, Half-Truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health.” Co-written by two Indiana doctors, the book cites a study in which researchers put the virus that causes the common cold into peoples’ noses and then chilled some of the subjects. “Those who were chilled were no more likely to be infected with a cold than those who were not chilled,” noted the authors.
So why is winter peak cold season? Proximity. Cold bugs work a room harder than a wannabe starlet. “People are bundled together indoors more and viruses spread through contact,” said Albert Ahn, MD, clinical instructor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. Packed together, our odds of getting others’ respiratory secretions onto hands and into mouths, eyes and noses increase.
Washing your hands is one way to prevent a cold.
(Michaela Begsteiger/Getty Images)
To keep from getting a cold, wash your hands to get rid of germs. And if you do get sick — stay home. “Don’t be the one who facilitates the spread of the virus,” said Susan Coffin, M.D., clinical director of the division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Daily News. No matter how many times that’s said, Coffin added, when it comes to colds, “everyone’s an enabler.”