I don’t know what the weather is like in your neighborhood but here, it’s up and down like a yo-yo. And that’s great news for cold viruses that seem to love to catch us all unawares, in spring.
Think you know it all? Unfortunately, not everything we think we know about having a stuffy nose is true.
Here are five myths about the common cold debunked:
1) You Will Catch One by Wearing a Tank Top Outside in a Snowstorm
You’ll likely get some frostbite if you wear a skimpy top in inclement weather, but research says that you won’t catch a cold just because you’re…cold. Colds are caused by infection and exposure to a virus.
All the way back in 1958, a paper published in the American Journal of Hygiene tells of a study in which more than 400 participants were exposed to viruses that cause colds, at varying temperatures. Some were exposed at very cold temperatures while wearing heavy coats, some at 60 degree temperatures while just wearing underwear, and others at 80 degrees. Results? All had the same rate of infection.
2) Your Granny Is More Likely to Contract a Cold Than You
There is a perception that older people have weaker immune systems and are generally more susceptible to catching colds, but the reality is that, once someone reaches old age, they’ve likely come in contact with a lot more cold viruses than the younger generation. They’ve already developed a solid wall of immunity to many common cold viruses. In fact, some say that by the time you hit 75, you’ve probably suffered from some 200 colds.
Fighting off a cold at 80 may be harder for the body to do, but it’s less likely to happen.
3) If the Person Next to You Was Infected and Sneezing, That’s Probably Where You Got Your Virus
It’s true that common colds can be spread by someone sneezing their virus onto you, but in reality, you can catch a cold by touching anything that an infected person has touched, and passed their virus to.
The common cold can live for up to 3 or 4 hours on hard surfaces like doorknobs or escalator rails. Touch one of these and then rub your eyes, and you’ve likely given yourself the virus.
4) Staying Indoors is a Good Way to Avoid Colds and Stay Healthy
If there is a parade of people infected with common colds marching by your house and sneezing away for fun, it could be a good idea to stay inside until they pass but in general, indoor environments can be the worst place to avoid catching a cold.
Air tends to be drier inside, allowing for better survival conditions for viruses. Also, less humid air causes people’s nasal passages to dry up, allowing for a greater chance of infection.
5) Colds Are So Common We Know Everything There is To Know About Them
Scientists say that as many as 20 to 30 percent of all adult colds, while likely to be viral in origin, have unidentified causes. So, in other words, they might be coming from aliens in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping, and creeping up your nose- no one really knows for sure yet.
It’s unlikely, but hey, no one knows.
Want to remain sneeze-free? Stay away from people, wash your hands and don’t touch your face-this may be your best line of defense in a cruel, rhinovirus laden world.