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TRUTH OR MYTH?

BEING COLD CAUSES A COLD

Myth—cold weather does not cause cold or flu symptoms.

 

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot catch a cold or flu virus from being cold. While cold and flu symptoms most commonly appear during the winter months, the truth is that this is not the result of being out in the cold.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, these infections prevail in winter months because infections spread when more people stay indoors for longer periods of time and are in closer contact with each other—including one another’s germs.1 Also, cold viruses may thrive in dry conditions resulting from climate-controlled environments (heat and air-conditioning).

To help avoid catching a cold and/or flu, limit your time spent with sniffling friends.2 Also, wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat and after you use the restroom.3 Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.4

1
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For Consumers: Get Set for Winter Illness Season. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm092805.htm. Accessed 6 November 2011.
2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seasonal Influenza (Flu)—Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work & School. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/germstopper/home_work_school.htm. Accessed 29 March 2011.
3
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/. Accessed 18 October 2011.
4
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seasonal Influenza (Flu)—Preventing Seasonal Flu Illness. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/preventing.htm. Accessed on 21 September 2011.