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Cold weather really does make colds spread, says crazy new study

Sasha Brown-Worsham

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Sasha Brown-Worsham

Sasha Brown-Worsham has written for dozens of publications over the course of her years as a journalist and blogger. She lives outside NYC with her three children, husband, and multiple pets. She is working on her first novel.

New study proves this old wives tale is actually true

Did your mother ever tell you not to go outside when it was cold or you would catch a cold? Did you think it was an old wives' tale? Well, think again. A new study out of Yale University shows a link with the replication of colds in colder weather. So if you feel more sniffles when there is snow on the ground, you aren't making it up.

It's not that you will get a cold just by being cold. But even a slight chill helps the rhinovirus replicate in lab mice, according to the study published by Yale University scientists in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Additionally, when it is colder outside, the human body has immune system changes that let the viruses more or less take over.

Scary stuff, right?

This isn't brand new information. People have always suspected that rhinoviruses love colder temperatures and an older study showed the virus multiplying faster when it was colder than body temperature.

But now we know it's not just a myth. So what does that mean for our real lives? Very little. We still need to wash our hands and try to avoid germs. We still need to cough into our sleeves and Purell after a sneeze. After all, one still need to be exposed to the germ in the first place to get the cold. And in case you are feeling depressed (like me) about being saddled both with freezing temperatures and an increased risk for a cold, just remember how many diseases replicate in hotter climates.

The common cold isn't looking so bad now, right?

Just have plenty of chicken noodle soup and good movies on hand. Keep your nose warm, wash your hands, and get through the season one way or another.

Will you change anything knowing this?

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