Did your grandmother say you’d catch a cold outside?
Grandma may have been wrong. Getting outdoors is a great idea when it’s rainy and cold, say experts in infectious diseases.
The reason more people get sick in winter isn’t the weather conditions themselves, but how we react to them, says Professor Collignon, director of Infectious Diseases at the Australian National University.
The more people crowd indoors, the more infections they spread and the less vitamin D they get from the sun.
To further highlight the message, another expert likes to tell his students about an experiment conducted in England many years ago.
“It was at the Common Cold Research Unit in Salisbury,” said Professor David Isaacs, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Sydney. “They [researchers] put them [volunteers] in an outdoor pool in England in the middle of winter with a rectal thermometer up their bottoms.”
And what did they find? “Getting cold doesn’t give you a cold,” Professor Isaacs said. “Stress and time of year, because you’re crowded indoors, are much more important.”
Studies under way at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh also suggest that psychological stress is also a very important factor in determining who gets sick when nasal passages are invaded by a cold-causing virus. Not all stress will do it. It has to be long-term stress, lasting at least a month and stemming from a significant problem. The researchers point out that stress is not the cause of all colds. Rather, people under severe stress are more likely to catch a cold when exposed to a virus than people under milder stress.
So you will not catch a cold being outside but you might get frostbite if you don’t wear proper clothing in extreme cold.