There’s no doubt winter is the season for colds. Even the name “the common cold” seems to suggest that lower temperatures contribute to the nose-running, throat-burning misery. For many years medical professionals denied this correlation. Researchers told us the cold weather had nothing to do with getting sick. Turns out, grandma was right on this one and the researchers were wrong.
It was and still is common knowledge that cold and flu germs make us sick. When the cold weather hits we all run indoors, where air is recycled. We’re also often in close quarters with other people and consequently their germs. We were told the recycled air and close quarters gave viruses a better chance to spread from person to person. Since..you know..we’re basically sneezing on top of each other all day. (No wonder our kids stay sick when school starts.)
Why do we get sick?
While close contact with a person who is sick will cause illness to spread, recent studies show that cold weather weakens the nose’s first line of immune defenses. During cold weather your nasal passages tend to dry out. Mucus is one of the body’s first lines of defense against viruses. Viruses and bacteria become trapped by the mucus in your nose and are later expelled or swallowed and killed by stomach acid. During cold weather, viruses can escape these defenses.
Most strains of the rhinovirus, the virus responsible for the common cold, spread throughout your body more effectively at cooler temperatures. Colder temperatures also constrict blood vessels, inhibiting the transport of white blood cells to an infected area. White blood cells protect your body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.
If you want to avoid the sniffles this winter,: Wash your hands, stay hydrated, and avoid close contact with sick people when you can. If you do catch a cold, we offer walk-in services for acute illnesses such as fever and respiratory illness. You can also schedule an appointment by calling (662) 348-3342. We’ll be happy to help you.