HOUSTON, Texas - In a city where the sun hasn’t shone for weeks, hides a tiny virus that can infect millions. Doctors call it Rhinovirus but everyone else just calls it a cold.
It might seem obvious but there’s never been proof that there’s any connection between cold weather and colds, until now.
Scientists already knew the Rhinovirus replicates better in cooler temperatures but new research on mice from Yale University is nothing to sneeze at. “What this study shows is there’s another aspect to it and that is, that your immune system doesn’t work as well at those cooler temperatures. So now you have a double whammy, the virus is making more of itself at the cooler temperatures in the nose and your immune system isn’t working to fight the virus” says Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UT Health School of Public Health.
Now cold weather alone won’t cause a cold because you must have the virus. “Some of the reasons we think colds are more common in the winter are: in many parts of the country and in Houston in the last couple of weeks we’ve had the heat on which dries out your nasal passages so you can get little tears that the virus can enter easier. The virus likes it better when its low humidity and probably that people are together in the winter more because school is in session” explains Dr. Troisi.
To avoid catching a cold, wash your hands often and try not to touch your face. Troisi tell us, "Most people touch their face between one and three times every five minutes- which is 200 to 600 times a day so it’s very hard not to do that but you can try." Hey, if it can prevent you from being knocked out cold, it’s worth a try.