Science and Tech


So You Caught A Cold: Why Staying Warm Is Still Your Best Defense

Regulating your body temperature might be key to getting over the common cold a lot faster.
Posted at 11:55 AM, Jul 12, 2016

Bundling up won't always stop you from getting a cold, but it may help you get over one faster.

Yale University researchers found that once the virus sets in, body temperature affects the immune system's key responses.

"When you inhale the cooler air, you actually cool the airway of the inside of the nose, and this is not what we have evolved to deal with. So the virus has found a nice home to replicate," the study's lead researcher told WTNH.

Lab tests showed when nasal passages get colder than the body's normal temperature, that curbs two different molecules that prevent the virus from spreading.

But when your nose is kept at the normal, non-sick temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the virus can't replicate.

SEE MORE: Don't Get Enough Sleep? A Cold May Be In Your Near Future

What's more, at the usual body temperature, the cold virus dies off naturally on its own. That means your body works against the virus in a few ways, as long as your stay bundled up.

So how do you raise the temperature of your nose? The study's lead researcher says to cover it with a scarf or wear a mask, and spend less time outdoors in the fall and winter.

This video includes clips from WTNHNational Geographic and NPR and images from Eneas De Troya / CC BY 2.0.