Can you catch a cold from being cold? Colds are very common nowadays. Whenever we experience one, we usually just take an OTC drug in order to treat the condition. However, colds should actually be taken seriously. This simple health problem can also cause or lead to several complications that could create severe symptoms. One way for us to manage this condition is by knowing what are the different causes or factors that could lead to acquiring colds.
What is a Cold?
A Cold is otherwise known as the common cold and it is also medically termed as acute coryza, acute viral rhinopharyngitis or nasopharyngitis. This is a viral infectious disease that affects primarily the upper respiratory system. This condition is caused by many factors and causative agents such as rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Colds can also produce several symptoms. Some of the most common includes sore throat, runny nose and cough. Some may also develop fever due to the presence of the virus. There are no known treatments for this condition that can shorten the duration. However, the symptoms of common colds usually disappear on their own after 7 to 10 days. Some, however, may even take 3 weeks in order for the symptoms to subside.
Colds are considered to be a common disease in humans. In fact, an average adult can even contract 2 to 4 cold infections in a year while children can experience even more with a frequency of 6 to 12 colds annually. Common colds, along with influenza and other upper respiratory tract infections or URTI, is classified under the influenza-like illness.
Does Cold weather Cause the Common Cold?
Even though colds are a common illnesses in humans, many are still unaware of what the common causes of this disease are. It is obvious that colds are primarily caused by viral infection; however, others would also think that cold weather can also trigger the occurrence of this health condition. So is it true that we can catch colds from cold weather?
The answer to the question stated above is a simple NO. Colds are recognized as an illness, just like is mentioned above. Illnesses and diseases naturally occur due to a specific pathogen or causative agent that corrupts the normal functioning of our system. In this case, viruses are the ones that trigger the disease and cold weather is not related to the occurrence of the condition. Cold weather does not cause infections in our health.
Causes of the Common Cold
These viruses and germs are usually transmitted through air droplets produced from the coughing and sneezing of an infected person. This is actually the most common way of transferring the causative agent from one person to another. Others may sneeze using their hands to cover their mouth and end up touching or shaking hands with other people. This increases the rate of infection to this kind of respiratory problem.
Aside from hand shaking, touching inanimate objects like pens, doorknobs and gadgets that are previously handled by a person infected by colds can also be a bridge to transmitting the pathogen. Germs can actually stay in door knobs and other things for hours which can cause high incidence of infection to other people. This shows us that regular hand washing and disinfecting publicly used items can definitely prevent the spread of this type of infection.
But Does Cold Weather Influence our Immune System?
Some say that the weather or cold temperatures can increase the risk of acquiring a respiratory illness. Cold weather causes chilling. These chills are said to prevent the immunity of the body from fighting off the natural germs in the body. Because of this, these germs can transform into pathogenic agents, which are normally controlled by the immune defenses and can now cause illnesses such as the common colds. However, this idea has already been disregarded for a long time. Chills do not actually cause weakening of the immune defenses. In other words, cold weather does not trigger pathogens to invade the body due to suppressed immunity. A study conducted by H.F. Dowling in the year 1958 has subjected 400 volunteers to be exposed to the viruses that can cause common colds. Some of these subjects were placed in a setting with cold temperature wearing only coats while some are placed on 60 degree temperature wearing only underwear, and some were placed in warm temperatures of 80 degrees. The experiment or the research ended with the same rate of infection in all three settings. This concludes that the temperature or the weather does not affect the severity or the occurrence of colds as well as it symptoms.