Myth or Fact? #19 – Cold weather makes you catch a cold

in science •  3 years ago 

Welcome dear Steemians to a new episode of Myth or Fact, a Steemit exclusive series.

I am quite certain that almost everyone knows this sentence: “Put on warm clothes when you go out or you will catch a cold!”. My mother used to yell this at me every winter and I refused to listen. The next day I did regret my decision and was sick in bed. Begging for some of her delicious soup she kept telling me she was right. I hate it.

Was she? Did she really know I will get a cold simply by not putting on my jacket? Well, after this episode of Myth of Fact you will know better! Let’s go.


First of all, we need to know what causes a cold. Generally spoken, a cold is caused by viruses, so called Rhinoviruses.
Viruses are small particles that can be considered parasites. To be accurate we must distinguish between a virion and a virus. A virion is a virus particle outside a cell and a virus is a particle inside the host cell. We saw that bacteria can reproduce themselves and fulfill the criteria for life. Viruses however depend on living cells of other organisms. They can’t reproduce by themselves. This results in a thin line between living and nonliving. On the one hand, they contain the information for life, DNA, but on the other hand they have no reproductive capability of their own. Being accurate we will consider viruses as non-living particles.

Virions usually are one-hundredths of the size of a bacterium and consists of two parts: the genetic information (DNA or RNA) and a protein coat. The following figure depicts a Rhinovirus:

Fig. 1 Molecule structure of a Rhinovirus Source

If you want to read more about bacteria and viruses I recommend you to have a look at my post: Life Explorers – The Science Academy – Bacteria and Viruses where we have more in-depth look at this topic.


Normally the human body has a core temperature of 37°C. At this temperature our immune system provides the best support and ensures to work most efficiently. With lower temperatures our body starts to works poorly. Blood circulation slows down and the communication between our cells and brain gets slower. Rhinoviruses prefer to spread around 31°C through mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, or nose – and in winter your mucous membranes are colder!

While it is true that during winter we might catch a cold easier than in summer, it not particularly linked to the temperature. Actually, it’s even better to go out than stay inside! In winter most viruses are found in closed rooms with bad air circulation and many people inside - source of infections!

The warm and dry air dries out your mucous membranes which allows viruses to enter your body and cause damage.

Outside however you have fresh air and movement boosts your health. Wash your hands more often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose! This will help you. Furthermore do more sports, eat healthy, avoid crowded places and air your room several times a day.

To summarize: cold weather alone can’t get us a cold. Viruses are responsible for us becoming ill and they spread more easily in cold days.

Do you get a cold easily during winter? Do you drink much tea, take vitamins or do sports to prevent from getting sick? Tell us how you strengthen your immune system!

Until next time! Yours, Tim
Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

When I stopped my smoking for 2 years I get cold very often almost every month thus I'm back smoking but minimal and never get cold.


Any science behind this approach? Could it be psychological ?

Not really psychological, 2 years of not smoking, I'm actually free and never crave smoking, even now, I am no longer addicted, I can stop smoking anytime, I only smoke after meal so I don't get cold.

That's excellent. I like when people are able to discontinue negative things abruptly, "cold Turkey " as they say.
I feel like mind over matter is real phenomenon

Now that's odd. Any other side effects?

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Not really a side effects, just easy to acquire cold when not smoking.
May be this is the reason why 2nd hand smokers die first.

Ha, now you can just say its smokers cough, not a cold: way better!
JK, I smoke too, damn "good" habit.cough, cough

Smoker cough when you're smoking, I was not smoking for 2 years and I'm free of smokers cough, what I get easily is cold and flu.

Sounds like your immune system may be running a little weak. Look into gut health by Dr. Josh Axe. He has a bunch of great videos on YouTube
Hope that can help, my friend.

When i stopped smoking 30 years ago i had no problems, i'm 30 by the way.

Quality post tot he fullest, as always!

Thanks for sharing. Two years ago or so, I heard over CBC news about a statistic concerning cold feet. Apparently, humans are something like 20% more prone to getting sick if we have cold feet, anything in relation to that? ;)

Namaste :)

Maybe the reason is related with the fact that when outside is cold, people usually stays inside closed sites, so there is stadistically more probability of transmision of viruses.

When catching a cold your blood circulation is more intense towards core/hearth. Your feets need less blood and thus get/feel colder. You are sick before you have cold feels

Well, that is content that could easily spark the attention of people outside of the Steemit environment -

Thanks! I am always sharing my articles on many other platforms.

It is a very well thought out and cool series Mr. Scientist!

The_Puffin_Post ThePuffinPost tweeted @ 23 May 2017 - 19:30 UTC

@Steemit Scientist timsaid with "Myth or Fact? #19 – Cold weather makes you catch a cold"… /

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

Hahah. NO! I am immune . Eat my smoothie, VIRUS!


I generally don't go outside unless I REAALLLLY have to. Because cold sucks. But tea and blankets and hats <3

What we experience as a "cold" is our lymphatic system reacting as it should. Our body produces mucus from the mucosa (Inner lining of the body). Upon certain conditions, the mucosa will produce this mucus to buffer and protect the body.

Acids present in the body such as drinking a coke, or having a smoke, will cause the formation of mucus.

Our lymphatic system will attempt to release this from the body through all available channels. Our primary release is through the kidneys and so we should release a small amount several times a day. If it's plugged up, we will get what we refer to as a cold.

Cold temperatures activate the lymph as well as it is alkaline and our body tends to be too acidic due to our improper diet and lifestyle.

Plug up the muffler of a car and see what happens. It channels back the other direction and tries to find a way out. (Of course hat doesn't last very long!)

We are experiencing a cold spell of weather in New England and I, along with my whole family is sick with a virus cold. Now I know why. Great article.

Congratulations @timsaid!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following categories:

  • Upvotes - Ranked 4 with 612 upvotes
  • Pending payout - Ranked 4 with $ 789,03

Dear Tim, I think your immune system was already compromised before the exposure. Verify, and do something positive to avoid a future occurrence.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Silver lozenges might be helpful. Zinc lozenges
Extra C, D3 - builds up immune system
ginger tea, garlic, tumeric , Elderberry, Echinacea, Goldenseal
chicken soup
Don't get colds too often, recover fast if I do. Take a silver lozenge right away if there is the slightest chance - for prevention.

Followed and Upvoted..! :D

Although most people consider the cold and flu season to span from November through February, these ailments are not limited to the winter months. Winter is not the only time that people get colds but they are more prevalent at that time. Colds happen all year round

That's right! There is also summer flu

Thank you for expanding my knowledge about it, @timsaid. I didn't know the scientific reasons for it and what it can cause us to catch a col during cold weather. Keep up the awesome work! I have just upvoted your post with my full power.

Thanks buddy!

Ok, lots of factors to think about here. Your immune system is basically affected by your stress response, and the cold is a form of stress! Once the stress response is activated then the body cells concentrate on keeping the body warm or dealing with that stressful situation, so the immune response is partially disabled. Sugar is also a form of stress, for those that love refined sugar.

Keep warm, wash your hands, sleep well, have fun, eat well, take a multivitamin supplement and extra vitamin If you feel a cold or virus coming on. Positive thinking also sends a great message to the cells. Imagine yourself well and happy and you are more likely to be it.

good !!!!

Thanks, confirmed what I had learned. Up vote 4U!

I take Vitamin D, working out and go regularly to the Sauna💪🏼

That's great bro! We should go to the sauna soo

Great idea 👌🏼

I drink green tea non stop, I am sure it helps but as you say if you stay in a lot you have more chance of catching something and in my work the place is a disease-fest during winter!

I love green tea! The more liquid you give your body the better! Just don't drink too much lol. I would work with a mask in these rooms lol

its not the cold that gives you a cold,but germs.

I have been tempted on the mask front!

hey great post, I dislike crowed places , especially in the subway, I usually get sick after using a crowed subway ---_---- even with washing my hands, .. I try to make sport, to eat healthy, I think I will by myself an disinfection spray :D wish you a nice evening !

I know that feeling! I tend to touch nothing in the subways and busses during winter. Too many germs!

-- _---- yeah

i like your science posts :)

Thanks ssekulji :)

you're welcome :)

always look forward to your fantastic posts!! well done again.


LIKE, great article.

Thank you fakj94

Great info as usual. looking forward to seeing more post from you.

Thank you uday625! You will see more :)

If i catch cold my mom says "wait a day it will wear off itself"

I luckily don´t get often sick during winter. But I also do a lot of sports like dancing and hitting the gym.
Great post !

Sports is always good!

it may be so however science disagrees personally I think the cold plays a large part in breaking down our immune system

It does like, like I said! But catching a cold is caused by viruses

Thank you for posting this, Tim, it's very informative! I rely on red wine during wintertime :-)

Does red wine work for you? Thanks for the kind words!

I suppose so, I haven't had a cold in a long time

In winter season I use a humidifier and frequent airing. If I catch a cold then drink a lot of warm tea.
But if your kid go to the kindergarten I think you have no chances to avoid a cold.

true very true and a very good post

Well, for me its totally a myth. We already have that rhinoviruses in our body system but the only thing that triggers that cold condition is when our immune system falls down due to a certain change, drop or rise of temperature in our body associated with the temperature of the environment. Because of this, sometimes our immune system can't cope up on those situations and will lead us to sickness.

Based on what i had experience, I usually get colds when there is transition of weather in our place (from summer to rainy seasons and vice versa). Yes, you can get colds too when there is a winter to summer transition of weather.

To put everything into one, its basically because of our immune system. There will be times that it is very weak. And to make our immune system so strong, there are only two ways I consider the most effective one:

Actually, you are somewhat wrong. The cold whether makes it easier for the influenza virus to gain access in our nasal pathways due to weakened defenses. There's a paper on it, when I have some time I'll post it.

Not the one I was thinking of, but see here:

It's not so much that the cold weather makes the spread easier but it makes our defenses themselves weaker (not dry mucous membranes!) against the viruses which are fairly prevalent.

  ·  3 years ago (edited)

Will have a look! The fact that our mucous membranes dry out is caused by the dry heating air in the rooms, not the cold weather. I made my point no clearly there. I wanted to point out that the cold is caused by viruses and that cold weather is in favour for influenca to spread since our immune system is weaker. Without germs there is no infection, doesn't matter how cold it is. Hope you can agreee on this

Sure that is a good point to make. The old wives tail that if you get cold you'll catch a cold, is true. Not for the reasoning exactly that mother's and grandmother's thought, and perhaps not due to anything that bundling up in a coat and hat can help with. The cold disrupts the functioning of interferon in our nasal pathways, our first line of defense against viral Invaders.

i love our

Great post! There have been so many times I have tried to explain to people that viruses cause the common cold and not the temperature or weather. Instead of catching a cold they should call it catching a Rhino :)

Myth !!! Lived in the windy city "the burbs" .. never catched a cold, but damn it was VERY cold specially near the lake.

nice one bro. I have an Idea for the next one : Does cold shower helps? or something like that :D

upvote and rs for you...

Nice post! I majored in Public Health and one of my professors said this exact thing, it's not being cold that makes us get sick, it's being inside BECAUSE it is cold outside and being around many other people can cause more transfer of germs.

I always thought that the cold made your body go into overdrive trying to bring your body temperature to normal levels, lowering your immune system and leaving you vulnerable to viruses.

Cool article.. however i catch cold when there are sudden changes in weather...

Tim!! I'm back!!! !long time!!! I think i agree with your article and should move to a hot country and live there :D

I want to move to Thailand with my girlfriend! :D

ooh wow no way!! what would you do there?

Medical Student here: I could be wrong but, essentially from my understanding, immune systems are basically inhibited by cold air making contact with the lining of the respiratory tract, reducing the ability for immune response within "cold area". So the respiratory tract then becomes more vulnerable to infection (viral or bacterial types). This too can happen when the body as a whole is exposed to cold for long durations of time, as the body prioritizes remaining warm over protection from pathogens. There's obviously TONS of more detail to this.

gmo? khemtrail? laced vacines? autism?