Being cold and catching a cold – why do we catch a cold when we’re cold?


With all that wintery magic, high heating bills and roads being closed because of snow, we often get a cold. Like previously said is not enough, we have to deal with dozens of tissues and stuffy nose as well.

Viruses are the ones responsible for this unpleasant condition. Although microbiology taught us that the most important factor for catching a cold is close contact with others when we are forced indoors, there is something in “bundle up or you’ll catch cold”.



Research has shown that Rhinoviruses, which are the most common cause for colds, are better able to reproduce at temperatures just below the body’s 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists discovered that when a virus invaded warmer cells, the host cells produced significantly more interferons — proteins that “interfere” with the spread of a virus by warning healthy cells of its presence and setting off an immune response. Viruses usually use our respiratory system as entrance, more precisely- our nose. As our nose cavity is more exposed to low temperatures from the outside, the “warning system” is less efficient and viruses can spread more easily. Besides that, the system that makes it harder for virus to spread is more active on higher temperatures, as well as the enzyme that degrades the viral genome.

Although the best protection from viral infections is  adequate hand hygiene, don’t forget that wrapping a scarf around your nose can be very helpful.





Follow us! Like us!