Craig Amrine is the owner and operator of Hidden Rhythm Acupuncture in Tempe, Arizona and a leading expert in  cold laser therapy.

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The Wisdom of Mom – She may have been right after all.

“Put a coat and scarf on or you’ll catch cold”! How many times have we heard this from our parents? Most of us grew up thinking that catching a cold resulted from prolonged exposure to cold weather.

As most of us grew up however, we learned that that colds were due to viruses, such as the rhino-virus. Colds and flus are actually caused by a variety of virus strains. So the question came up as to why do most people get sick in colder weather? The common answer was that during cold weather, people tended to gather in close quarters more often, increasing the chance of transmission. The stresses caused by feeling “cold” could also lower the immune system and increase chance of transmission.

So Mom’s advice was wrong. You can just as easily get a “cold” in the summer as you can in the winter. Right?

Not so fast.

Recent studies show that flu and cold viruses thrive better in cold weather. In fact, the viruses seem to form a protective barrier in cold weather that enables them to survive until they can find a warmer environment. Once inside the body, that protective barrier melts away allowing the virus to spread and infect the host. (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20080303/why-flu-virus-thrives-in-winter)

Further research also suggested humidity also plays a role and that a cold and drippy nose is the IDEAL temperature for some of these viruses to thrive. (http://scienceline.org/2015/01/cold-viruses-thrive-in-cold-noses/). In the other extreme, very low humidity such as in heated house in the winter also increases the virus survival rate.

The cold nose model also explains that it’s more difficult for the nose to release certain infectious fighting agents in colder temperatures. (http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/01/06/study-cold-weather-may-be-linked-to-common-cold-after-all/)

So, bundling up when you go out on a cold day may indeed help you in the fight against catching a cold, so Mom may be right after all. Of course, the jury is still out on medicinal effects of chicken soup.

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