Science Questions

What’s the correlation between cold weather and catching a cold?

Sun, 11th Nov 2007

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Ash asked:

What’s the correlation between cold weather and catching a cold? If our body’s core temperature is controlled within such strict parameters then does the ambient temperature affect internal conditions in our bodies?


Victoria: Yes it does because the ambient temperature makes it easier or less easy for your body to control the internal temperature. You have to use a certain amount of energy to keep your body at the right temperature and keep yourself healthy. It’s more to do with how many bugs are around. Bug such as the cold virus and the flu virus are extremely infectious and airborne. In the cold weather you have vulnerable people whose systems can’t get enough energy to maintain their core temperature and they’re having to keep themselves warm. They get bugs, the bugs are transmitted and then everyone comes down with it.

Dave: There’s also an effect that in the Winter everyone’s cramped together inside whereas in the summer they’re spread out. If few of the viruses are getting from one person to the next, they’re not going to spread as quickly.

Chris: The other big determinant that science has shown is really important to the spread of infections is the school year. Lots of people go away on holiday and then they come back and congregate in this thing called a school which is really a viral mixing pot where everyone exchanges viruses, takes them homes to their parents and brothers and sisters who then take them to their schools. School terms are really important in determining who gets what.


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