It’s not a myth that not keeping warm can make you more susceptible to a cold. Yale News reported the cold virus replicates better when temperatures are cooler. According to a new Yale led study the common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature which is found inside the nose than it can at core body temperature.
This finding might very well confirm the contested but popular notion that people have a greater chance to catch a cold when weather conditions are cool. It has long been known by researchers that the rhinovirus, which is the most frequent cause of the common cold, replicates more readily in the slightly cooler environment of the nasal cavity than it does in the warmer environment of the lungs.
However, Akiko Iwasaki, senior author of this study and Yale professor of immunobiology, says the focus of previous studies has been on how body temperature influenced the virus as opposed to how it influenced the immune system. In order to investigate the relationship which exists between temperature and immune response Iwasaki and his associates at Yale examined the cells taken from the airways of mice.
These researchers compared the immune response to rhinovirus when cells were incubated at 37 degrees Celsius, or core body temperature, versus the cooler 33 degrees Celsius. Iwasaki said it was observed that innate immune response to the rhinovirus does not work as well at the lower body temperature in comparison to the core body temperature.
It is felt that even though this research was done on mouse cells it offers clues which may benefit people, including the approximately 20 percent of us who have rhinovirus in our noses at any given time. Iwasaki noted in general the lower the temperature is it appears the lower the innate immune response to viruses in people. This study has been published in the journal PNAS.
In view of the fact that rhinovirus is the most frequent cause of the common cold and one of the most significant causes of asthma exacerbations this is an important study. These findings have demonstrated that in mouse airway cells rhinovirus replicates better at nasal cavity temperature due partially to a less efficient antiviral defense response of infected cells which is seen at cool temperatures. This study appears to have relevance for people. The bottom line is it appears people really should keep warm and perhaps even cover their noses in order to avoid catching colds.