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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Myth Busting Monday - Catching a Cold

MYTH: You can catch a Cold by being cold

I am sure that every mother has told every child, at one time or another, that they will catch a cold if they don't wear a jacket or something warm out in the cold.

According to the American Lung Association:

Myth: You can catch the flu or a cold from going outdoors in cold weather.Fact: The flu and colds are more common in the winter months because that is when the viruses spread across the country. It has nothing to do with being outside in cold weather.[source]
On a related note, here is another popular myth about cold cleared up by the ALA (American Lung Association):
Myth: "Feed a cold and starve a fever (flu)."

Fact: This is definitely not a good idea in either case. You need more fluids than usual when you have the flu or a cold. Drink plenty of water and juice, eat enough food to satisfy your appetite, and drink hot fluids to ease your cough and sore throat.[source]

The general consensus on Yahoo! Answers about this myth is that the cold is a virus, something that you have to catch from someone else. Also, most people agree that being cold can influence getting a cold, being cold weakens the immune system thus making you susceptible to catching the cold virus. If you want to read more responses click here.

According to the web site, here are some facts about catching the common cold:
1. Healthy people with normal immune systems are highly susceptible to cold virus infection the virus enters the nose. In volunteers studies, approximately 95% of normal adults became infected when virus as dropped into the nose.
2. Of people who become infected, only 75% develop symptoms with a cold. The other 25% have virus growing in the nose but have no symptoms. They have an "asymptomatic infection".
3. Why people sometimes become infected but do not develop cold symptoms is a mystery. One clue is that in such instances the person may not be producing the normal amount of certain inflammatory mediators, the natural body chemicals which cause cold symptoms. If this theory is correct, then people with active immune systems may be more prone to developing cold symptoms than people with less active immune systems!One study has looked at this question.
- It was found that colds were no more frequent or severe in volunteers who were chilled than those who were not.[source]
I guess once the cold virus gets in your nose it's all over and you are pretty much guaranteed that you are going to get a cold. So in order to avoid a cold everyone should wear nose guards to keep the cold virus from entering your nose.

What are your thoughts about this myth, let us know in the comments.

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