Why Do We Catch Colds In Winter?

Why Do We Catch Colds In Winter?

If you think about it, right now you can probably name 2-3 people you know personally who are suffering from a cold. The age-old question can be asked; why do we catch more colds during the winter? Is it just the cold temperatures and our inability to tolerate cold? Is there some sort of biological change that takes place in the human body, making us susceptible to cold viruses? The answer, according to research done at Yale University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is less than definitive.

One leading theory, supported only partly by the above research, is that the common cold virus grows and multiplies more rapidly in cooler body temperatures. For example, when you’re outside and breathing cold air, nasal tissue temperatures drop. Theoretically, this would enhance virus growth, assuming it is present in the first place. If true there is not much any of us can do to avoid the problem. And, in that case, our relative ability to fight off cold symptoms could be a simple matter of staying as healthy as possible in the first place.

Dr. John Watson, at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, has studied the common cold extensively, with limited answers as to why colds are more common in winter. He is quick to point out that, while colds may seem more severe in winter and more prevalent, the average American will contract three colds per season, and not all of them are in Winter. And it happens whether or not we force-feed ourselves loads of vitamin C. Simply taking vitamins has not been shown to prevent colds.

It is possible, we just feel cold symptoms more in Winter. Battling a cold any time of year is not pleasant but, when cold winter temperatures make life less enjoyable, in general, adding cold to the list of frustrations may well elevate it on the discomfort scale.

One thing is certain, points out Dr. Watson, the “common cold” is very, very common. After deep research, there is no definitive answer as to the specific cause of the cold or the way to avoid a cold.  In the meantime, below is a few ways you can help treat your cold this winter:

  • Hydrate. Water, juice, or clear broth will help loosen congestion and prevent you from getting dehydrated. Avoid liquids that can make this word such as alcohol, soda, and coffee.
  • Relax. With any given illness, some R & R is always recommended to give your body time to heal and recover.
  • Medicate. If you choose to go this route, local pharmacies offer many different types of OTC treatments to help speed up the recovery process and help the virus not to spread.

Here, is a link to WebMD offering more details on the common cold, what we do and do not know about how to avoid it.