We have all heard it before…”Put on a coat or you’ll catch cold!” This is a phrase used by our parents, grandparents, and loved ones since we can remember. It is also played out in many movies and cartoons. We all have grown up with the belief and understanding that going outside without a jacket and getting cold will cause us to get sick. But is it true?…Can Cold Weather Make You Sick?
I personally was the kid that just didn’t wear a jacket. I was always one that ran hot, and would sweat even in 30 degree weather. On a 60-65 degree day all my friends wore jackets and would always get sick, but I often would wear no jacket and be just fine. What is the reason for this. Does cold weather really play a role in this?
In this post, I have taken the time to research and breakdown exactly how we get sick. Also, how our bodies react to cold versus warm climate. As a result, I think I’ve found the shocking truth behind the myth!
Catching Cold (Rhinovirus)
In order to catch cold, you need to come into contact with a rhinovirus. The peak time for catching the rhinovirus is during the spring and fall seasons. The virus replicates itself and grows fastest in temperatures between 91-95 degrees Fahrenheit (33-36 degrees Celsius).
The cold virus is very small and can be caught through air and direct contact with surfaces including person-to-person. This is why we now have wipes at almost every major grocery food store, and why your kids are getting sick at least once a month at school or daycare.
I’d like to point out that non of these disease hot spots are outside in the cold, but inside where it is warm.
Catching Flu (Influenza)
Like the cold, in order to get the flu you need to come into contact with it in some way. This would also be an airborne or physical contact sort of exposure. Reguardless, it is the ONLY way to get the flu…you need to come into contact with a form of influenza virus.
This virus also spreads in similar temperatures as the rhinovirus. It is also the reason many kids and people get sick from its strain. The difficult thing about Influenza is that it can mutate and change into other forms and strains making it difficult for our bodies to detect and fight off each time it changes.
The flu virus is much stronger than the common cold. It affects most easily those with weaker immune systems, such as children under the age of 5, adults over 65, along with those suffering from diseases or conditions that weaken their immunity.
Research shows that for both influenza and the rhinovirus, rapid warming and cooling temperatures will create an environment suitable for these viruses to thrive and spread. That is why fall and spring are peak times to contract these sicknesses.
Scientists and experts who believe our bodies getting chilled in cold weather causes us to get sick use poor experimentation and observation of animals, such as mice, to replicate how we would react when our bodies are in cold. Unfortunately, those same scientists and so-called experts must have a hard time understanding the differences that lie in how other animals react to climate and sickness versus a human body.
One huge flaw is that animals such as mice cannot even contract the rhinovirus. Therefore, they modify their experiments by giving it a different sickness to replicate the condition in order to make it work, in which case, it doesn’t really make it an accurate experiment at all…just an excuse to torture some mice for a pointless cause to prove a point/agenda.
Warm Versus Cold
The truth is that when it comes to warm versus cold, we are more likely to get sick in warmer climate. This is the environment that suits the spreading of viruses. It is also often those that are staying inside and not getting out that often fall victim.
People staying away from colder weather are not as active, aren’t eating as healthy, and are seeking refuge in an environment where bacteria thrive. We are also more susceptible to sickness when the body is tired or stressed which are two things that happen when staying indoors and lack of sunlight and fresh air come into play.
It doesn’t help that air quality in homes and places of business are also low in winter and colder months. The long spans of closed windows and doors can create poor circulation of air causing conditions to become sometimes toxic.
When we go outside, we are exposed to fresh air and nourishing sunlight loaded with vitamin D which strengthens our immune system. You may notice when going outside, an energy boost whether you like it or not. Your immune system is also getting that boost as well.
In cold temps, our body also begins to obviously get cold. Our nose for instance is the first area to freeze up. Often times in response it may get dry which would often enable a virus to easily sneak in. However, the body responds by making it run. This of course goes away shortly, and the mucous protects against viral infections and disease. It is as though your body already knew what to do to protect itself?!
Any infectious diseases you would be breathing in need about 91 degrees to grow. Our nostrils have no problem staying well below that almost instantly going outside in cold weather.
Studies also show that the cells in our body that fight infections increase once exposed to cold climate. Therefore, it is more likely you would contract a virus going back into a warm environment than going into a cold one.
Think about it! Ever get sick going out shopping or doing errands? Of course you have!!! Chances are it wasn’t the cold weather or running out without a jacket that made you sick. It was going from the cold environment and diving into a cesspool of stale air and germs from all the places you went to visit.
The ONLY way to get sick is when you come into contact with a virus. Cold weather CANNOT slam dunk a virus in your body, and it certainly is not airborne outside in the cold air or any cold surface you would touch outside. It is only in direct contact often in warmer conditions such as inside during cold weather months.
Which makes it interesting that people who often get the flu shot almost immediately get the flu. Which in turn allows others to also contract the virus and spread it.
Warm weather and staying inside are far more a threat to your health than the cold weather outside. Running out without a jacket in colder weather will make you uncomfortable, and in certain freezing temperatures, is down-right dangerous, but it is not the reason you would have gotten sick.
Be sensible and where your jacket. However, know that if you got sick, it’s not the cold weather that did it. It was the person that open coughed on you, the handle you touched in the store, or the needle containing a weakened form of influenza you allowed a doctor inject into you.