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---Does cold weather cause you to get sick?---

Posted by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 9:02 AM
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Does cold weather cause you to get sick?
No, it is bacteria and/or viruses that cause you to get sick. If you are indoors with poor ventilation you may feel sick, or if your extremities have got very cold you may get frostbite.

Yes, the lowering of a person's body temperature also lowers the immune system which makes a person more vulnerable to catching illnesses. This is has been a known fact through out history. Anytime a person's body is under great stress such as being too cold will have an undesirable effect on the immune system.

How cold are we talking here? Lowering of body temperature is more severe than being outside for 15 minutes without wearing a coat. That's why we shake when we are cold...our body temperature isn't going to lower significantly in a short period of time.

Also: Being in the cold doesn't mean your body temperature is lowered. If you are so cold that your body temperature is lowered, you have worse things to worry about than getting a cold.

According to one study, even mild hypothermia can weaken your immune response. See related link section.

New research has shown both warm and cold people when exposed to a virus had the same chance of getting sick.
If the question were, "Does cold weather cause you to get a cold or the flu?", then the answer would be: no, there is no scientific proof that it does. The studies so far have shown no cause:effect relationship between being wet or cold and having an infection by a common cold or flu virus.

There are connections made by some people through anecdotal evidence, since the viral cold and flu "season" is in the cold time of year. Cold weather isn't the reason more people can be sick with viruses then, though. The cold temperatures and flu/viral illnesses are merely concomitant. Those infections are coincidental to the lower temperatures, not a direct result of cold temperatures on the individual or their immune systems. It is not that the cold temperature will directly influence an increase in infection rates, it is just that they tend to be at the same time of year.

There may be some indirect effect of cold weather keeping us indoors together more closely where we are more likely to spread viruses to each other. Also, the lowered amount of sunshine in the winter allows more viruses to be in the environment because there are fewer sun rays to "kill" them than in other times of year. When someone has a runny nose from a cold and then goes outside, the nose will usually produce more rhinorrhea (runny noses) allowing the spread of more viral infections, especially in children who are not as careful with hand washing and other preventive methods.

However, the question does not limit being "sick" to only infections, so the answer to this particular question is: yes, it can make you sick. Obviously, exposure to extreme weather conditions can make you sick and even kill you. But the cause of the sickness is the injury from exposure, not an infection by a germ.

Just feeling chilly or even getting "goosebumps" or shivering from the cold weather is not hypothermia. When medical studies use that term, it is used to refer to a specific measurement of core body temperature. The term is not used just to mean that someone felt cold.

Hypothermia is not the same as being cold, it is a specific medical diagnosis and :
  • It is defined as a core body temperature that is at or below 95 F (35 C). The normal human core body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C).
  • Needs to be treated if core body temperature goes below 95 F (35 C).
  • Affects motor coordination through impact to the nervous system at core body temperatures of 95 F (35 C).
  • Becomes life threatening below core body temperatures of 90 F (32.2 C).
  • When the core body temperature drops that low, at the start of a hypothermic condition, symptoms can include intense uncontrollable shaking and shivering, then if your body continues to get colder, the shivering stops when the core temperature gets between 90 F and 86 F.
  • It causes heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure to rise during the first stages of hypothermia as your body tries to increase metabolism and warm itself, but these vital signs fall once the core temperature gets 90°F (32.2°C).
  • Creates coma at below 86 F.
  • Heart rate becomes very irregular below 82 F and death can soon follow.
Note: There are comments associated with this question. See the discussion page to add to the conversation.

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by on Dec. 3, 2011 at 9:02 AM
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by Group Owner on Dec. 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Cold weather makes you sick? Common health myths debunked

Published: Saturday, January 01, 2011, 12:30 PM     Updated: Saturday, January 01, 2011, 9:46 PM
If you swallow your gum, it sticks inside your digestive system for seven years. And if you crack your knuckles, you will get arthritis.

Actually, these statements are false, according to Jackson-area doctors. These are just a sample of the many myths, old tales and half-truths that exist in the world of health and medicine today. Here are some health myths (you might be surprised which ones you thought were true):

Cold weather makes you sick

Every winter, mothers tell their children to come inside for fear the cold weather will make them sick.

However, it's not cold weather that makes you ill, but rather cold and flu viruses.

During the colder months, we spend more time indoors, making it easy for viruses to travel from one person to another.

"Cold weather basically increases your chances to get sick because people are in close proximity and indoors. That makes the transmission of infection more easy," says Shahzad Shaikh, a doctor of internal medicine at the Center for Family Health in Blackman Township.

Brad Kremer, a doctor at the Center for Family Medicine in Jackson, agrees.

"Disease is passed more frequently," he says.  

Sugar makes kids hyper

After numerous studies, there is no evidence showing that sugar makes kids hyper, says Shaikh, who has been practicing medicine for 18 years.

"It is common belief by most parents that sugar makes their kids hyper. But, in fact, somebody looked at all the studies in this matter. ... (They found) the kids who were not given sugar did not behave any differently than the kids who were given sugar," he says.

But Travis Brown, a physician's assistant at the Center for Family Health in Blackman Township, says, "It all depends on what sugar you are consuming.

"Chocolate is a natural stimulant because it has caffeine in it, as well as sugar. But drinking a couple glasses of Kool-Aid shouldn't make things worse."

If you swallow gum, it sticks inside you for seven years.

Some people might have a whole wad of gum stuck inside their bodies if this health myth were true. But Kremer says, "That is definitely a myth."

The popular belief says that gum sticks inside your stomach and takes approximately seven years to pass through because your body cannot properly digest it. It's true that your body cannot digest gum, but it doesn't sit in your stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic. The gum travels through the digestive track intact, instead of being broken down into smaller components like with other food particles, and is excreted.

"Everything runs through you within 12 to 48 hours from entrance to exit," Brown says.

Cracking your knuckles will cause arthritis later in life

Snap. Crackle. Pop. No, we're not naming the Rice Crispies trio; instead these are the sounds of your joints cracking.

"When you move your knuckles, what you move is the synovial fluid inside the joint," Shaikh says. "When it moves from one joint pocket to the other joint pocket, it produces a sound and that's what the cracking is."

Though cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis later in life, he says, it can weaken the joints over time.

Shaved hair grows back faster and coarser than 
non-shaved hair

"That's false," Brown says. "You hair is going to grow at the same rate and the same thickness whether you cut it once, you never cut it or you cut it every day."

And there are no studies proving this to be true, Shaikh says.

"No matter how frequently you shave, the hair does not become courser or denser," he says.
Related topics: Your Home, Your Lifestyle

by Group Owner on Dec. 3, 2011 at 9:10 AM


Does Cold Weather Cause the Cold or Flu?

By , Guide

Updated March 29, 2010

Question: Does Cold Weather Cause the Cold or Flu?

This question has probably been asked since the first time the flu made someone sick. After all, cold and flu season occurs when the weather is cold, so there must be a connection, right? Well, not quite. No matter how many times your mother and grandmother told you not to go out in the cold because you would catch a cold or the flu, it just doesn’t work that way.


The truth is, the flu and the common cold are caused by viruses. People get sick more often in the winter because they are exposed to each other more in the winter than in the summer. When it is cold outside, people tend to stay inside and are more likely to spread germs to one another. Also, because school is in session, kids are around each other all day and are not afraid to share their germs. With so many people in such close contact, the likelihood of passing germs is much higher when it is cold outside than when it is warm and people are outdoors. There is also evidence now that viruses spread more easily through dry air. When it is cold outside, the air is drier both outdoors and inside (where people have their heaters on) which may make it easier for germs to pass from one person to another. But it is not the cold weather that causes the cold, it just might make it easier to spread the virus.

In tropical areas, where it does not get cold, the common cold and flu season generally occurs during the rainy season. But again, these illnesses are not caused by the rain. They are just more prevalent because people come in closer contact with each other than they do during the dry season.

The most important thing to remember during cold and flu season is to remember to protect yourself against these germs when you are around other people. Viruses are passed by contact between people, so be sure to wash your hands often.


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