Thursday, May 28, 2009

Public Service Announcement

A common question about the common cold:
Can you catch a cold from going out in the cold?

The older generation likes to say that yes, the cold air will somehow magically create the cold virus in a person. The newer generation of people say no, since a cold is in fact a virus, there is no way it can be generated out of thin air.

So what is our current understanding? Unfortunately it is a little of both.

Recent studies have shown that in some cases, cold temperatures CAN in fact instigate a cold. Spontaneously generate no, but INSTIGATE. What does this mean?

The studies indicated that cold weather allowed the dormant virus to take hold of the body. So simply being cold didn't make the virus appear out of nowhere.

When colds are circulating in the community many people are mildly infected but show no symptoms. You know, those times when people around you are coughing and sneezing and you borrow a pencil? Then only after the fact do you remember and thank your “lucky stars” for not catching the virus. It is quite possible that you DID catch it but it lies dormant within you waiting for the opportunity to take over your body.

If you become cold this causes a pronounced constriction of the blood vessels in the nose and shuts off the warm blood that supplies the white cells that fight the infection. The reduced defenses in the nose let the virus strengthen and common cold symptoms develop.

So cover up and don’t go outside with your hair wet, yes, just like mother said.

(This blog contains information used from many different websites that can neither be validated nor found again, damn history wipe!)

1 comment:

Iris said...

Interesting information. Thank you for piecing it together. An old question with a decent answer now :)