Winter is coming on us fast, and one of the things that you might be told is to bundle up, as being cold might give you a cold. But is this advice true? Let's look at recent science data and find out for ourselves.
How does one catch a cold?
Despite what you may believe, a cold is a virus, also known as the Rhinovirus. In order to get a cold, you need to have this virus present, regardless of the temperature. Without this virus, you will never get a cold.
This virus is spread from person to person through the air, or through contact. Coughing or sneezing on someone, or touching an object, like a doorknob, that has been touched by someone else, can spread this virus. So make sure to always wash your hands, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Hopefully, I should not have to be telling any of these readers that, but just in case.
It is important to note that antibiotics will not cure a cold. No matter how much you are snotting or coughing, antibiotics are still probably far worse for you than you think.
Does temperature change anything?
Well, there is a lot of research when it comes to this topic. But first of all, behavior is important. When we get cold, we tend to stay inside and often more huddled together than we would if it were warmer outside. As a result, it makes it far more likely for the virus to spread.
Being inside more often also puts us all at greater risk for Vitamin D Deficiency. This can lower your immune system, and make you more likely to get sick. A great way to combat this would be to make sure you drink vitamin D fortified beverages or take a supplement. This also might be one of the causes of the Winter Blues.
Another thing to consider is humidity. When humidity drops, our sinuses dry out. This means that we are more susceptible to the infection than at other times of the year. But this has less to do with cold, and more to do with humidity.
One study showed that people who put their feet in water were more likely than the control group to get sick in the coming weeks. However, it is important to note that this study was very small.
So, in short, there is not enough evidence to show that a simple change in temperature makes you more likely to catch a cold. If you want to learn more about winter myths, check out the video below by doctor Aaron Carroll.