We all know by now that bacteria and viruses are what causes upper respiratory symptoms to make our lives unpleasant, but there are still plenty of people out there warning us to “bundle up or you’ll catch cold.”
Why is this a myth that still persists? Is there any truth to it at all? Let’s find out!
No, you don’t catch a cold from being cold, but there is a connection – because cold and flu viruses are easier to contact when it’s cold.
Common viruses like rhinovirus, influenza, and other live longer on surfaces and replicate faster in lower temperatures. This makes them easier to spread, but keeping warm won’t make a difference in keeping you healthy.
Scientists also note that the outer membrane of some viruses becomes more solid and rubbery in the cold, which could make them easier to transmit.
In addition, inhaling cold air can adversely affect the immune response in your respiratory tract. In that way, covering your nose and mouth with a scarf or a mask could help.
A lack of vitamin D in the winter could also contribute, as it is essential for a healthy immune system, too, along with physical activity, which also tends to decrease during colder months.
While we’re holed up indoors trying to keep warm, we’re spreading disease to those around us.
So, while there’s nothing you can do to change how viruses work, there are some simple steps we can all take in order to stay healthier, even during the colder months.
Make sure you wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, stay hydrated, eat well, and try your best to stay physically active.
If you have any energy left after all of that, clean and sanitize the surfaces in your home.
Lastly, don’t forget to stay updated on your available vaccines.