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Can the Cold Cause Colds?

As a leading provider of elder care in Santa Clarita, we take health and wellness seriously. Most of us have been told or told others at one time or another to bundle up before catching a cold. Now, new research seems to support the long-held belief that being cold is linked to catching a cold. While the cold itself cannot make someone sick, cold weather does make us more prone to becoming ill. 

A team of researchers from Yale University found that colder temperatures actually weaken the nose’s defense against germs, allowing the common cold virus to reproduce more efficiently inside the nose. This means that when the weather is chilly, the cold virus can reproduce better in the nose than in the lungs. 

The scientists began by modifying a strain of rhinovirus that causes most colds to infect mice. The team then tested how well the cells lining the airways could fight off the virus at various temperatures. At cold temperatures, researchers found that the body has a more sluggish immune response, which leads to a higher susceptibility to catching the cold. 

Cells that become infected with rhinovirus tend to self-destruct, effectively stopping the invasion, but this is more likely to happen in warm cells. Warmer cells are also capable of mounting a stronger immune response. By constricting blood vessels, cold weather inhibits the transportation of white blood cells to the site of infections, allowing the infected cells to spread throughout the body.

Prior to this study, researchers believed the association between colds and cold weather had more to do with behavior than biology as there are more people sharing the same air inside warm buildings that could increase the rate of transmission. While this study doesn’t necessarily translate to humans as it does to mice, it likely proves the age-old wisdom that cold weather puts you at risk of getting sick and staying warm can help guard against the common cold.

Learn more about keeping your senior loved one happy and healthy this cold season from the dedicated staff at Home Care Assistance. We provide live-in, hourly, and respite care Santa Clarita families rely on, ensuring seniors have the support they need to stay safe and comfortable when the temperatures dip. Give a friendly Care Manager a call at 661.259.9914 to find out how our care services can help your loved one.