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Can cold weather cause a cold?

Written by Stéfanie Crevier, our newest recruit Naturopathic student at the Quebec Institute of Naturopathic Education, massage therapist, founder of the Natural Care Refuge, culinary explorer, but especially the mother of three wonderful children, Stéfanie joins our team to to share with you his favorites, his healthy recipes, his eco tips, his discoveries and his ideas to make your family life easier!

We've all been told by our mother or grandmother: "Cover-up! It's cold, you'll get sick! "Or my favorite:" Cover-up! You'll catch your death of cold! Ha ha ha! "Well, far be it for me to question the credibility of our elders, but is that true? It seems to me that in recent years I have understood that this idea has been debunked because it has been shown that colds and flu are viral or bacterial infections and not a disease that the body develops because of the cold... However! There are always two sides to a coin, aren't there? In the world of metabolism and the immune system, it's never that simple, let alone black and white!

I did some research just in case "they" had changed their minds since then but no, the medical verdict remains the same: cold weather does NOT give you a cold! And yes, no matter how naked you may be sitting in a fridge for hours or lying in a snowbank after a Christmas party, it wouldn't change the fact that you won't catch a cold, but you could easily end up with frostbite or hypothermia, which is not very desirable either so.... please refrain from doing so!

"Cold and flu viruses spread through saliva and mucus from coughs and sneezes ejected from the body. For example, simply being in the vicinity of a sick person can lead to contracting the virus that was suspended in the air. »

According to Dr. Karl Weiss, microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal: "Since we are more often within confined spaces during winter than in summer, with people who have a virus, it is normal that we are more exposed to viruses, but it has nothing to do with the cold. "Thank you for this sublime explanation Dr. Weiss, but yes, and I mean IF our grandmothers were not completely wrong on a few points? Because we will tell ourselves, the world is not perfect either since pure and hard science reigns supreme over our lives.

We traded our good old grandmother stuff for lab pills, but maybe we should have been more open-minded and said that, if our ancestors were all tougher than us, maybe it was for a good reason. Don't worry, I won't start a debate here on everything that I think is wrong with the current health system, but I was wondering if it was possible to look at it from a different perspective. How a body that carries the cold virus, for example, reacts.

We all know that if you spend a few minutes shivering outside in the snow, you can guess that extreme cold is bad for the human body. But what exactly are the effects of low temperatures on the body?

To understand how cold influences the body, it is important to remember that body temperature is influenced by a mechanism: the balance between the production and loss of heat by the body. Without this balance, the human body cannot maintain its core temperature of 37 degrees.

Also, the body temperature increases when a fever appears. Its purpose is precisely to destroy bacteria or viruses that do not tolerate this excess heat well. It also promotes the intervention of the immune system that will fight the infection. That's why I really feel that the question is there.

So, I continued my research and I was able to see that there is still a debate going on. The most common arguments are that the cold would dry out our airways, making us more susceptible to infections and that some of the many viruses responsible for colds would "adhere" better to dry mucous membranes. However, since it is not a generality, its veracity cannot be affirmed beyond any doubt.

There is also the hypothesis that the immune system, or at least its response to aggressors, would weaken when we are cold. Again, despite hours and days of searching, the answer remained unclear and I was beginning to lose some hope when TADAM! came across a fascinating study from YALE University, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An article that confirms that the innate immune response to rhinovirus (the most common cause of colds) is altered when body temperature is lower than central body temperature.

The study also strongly suggested that temperature variations mainly influenced the immune response rather than the virus itself. "In general, the lower the temperature, the lower the innate immune response to viruses," noted Iwasaki, senior author and professor of immunobiology at Yale. In other words, she says, to my great delight, that research could FINALLY give credit to old women's stories that people should stay warm and even cover their noses to avoid catching a cold.

So, in conclusion - no - the cold does not give the cold virus, that we knew, BUT, the cold nights decrease our immune response by reducing its effectiveness against certain viruses. Then get dressed! You may be carrying a virus without knowing it and your system needs your cooperation to eliminate it!

Pppssssst, you can also boost your immune system this winter with supplements from Land Art, such as vitamin Croyal jelly ginseng or organic adaptogenic mushroom extract, all ultra-effective and powerful allies. :)

Références :

  • https://www.pnas.org/content/112/3/827
  • https://news.yale.edu/2015/01/05/cold-virus-replicates-better-cooler-temperatures
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Cold_Unit
  • https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2018/02/28/avoir-froid-donne-rhume-faux
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