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Mom was right, it is best to wrap up warm in the winter

By Tim Sandle     Jan 22, 2015 in Science
Wrap up warm or you’ll catch a cold is a common saying. There may be an element of truth to this for the cold causing virus is more virulent in cold temperatures when compared with warmer ones.
Researchers have found that the common cold virus reproduces more efficiently in the cooler temperatures found inside the nose than at core body temperature. In a sense this means that you are more likely to catch a cold in cool-weather conditions.
Although researchers have long suspected that the common cold rhinovirus replicates faster in the cooler environment of the nose than in the warmer temperature of lungs. What they have not known is how this relates to the immune system.
Rhinoviruses are the most common viral infective agents in humans and are the predominant cause of the common cold. Rhinovirus infection proliferates in temperatures between 33–35 °C (91–95 °F), which are the temperature ranges found in the nose.
The suspected link to the immune system has led to a series of studies that have looked at the connection between temperature and immune response. To do this, researchers have run experiments in mice.
For the study, scientists have examined the cells taken from the airways of mice. These cells have been compared to the immune response to rhinovirus when cells were incubated at 37 degrees Celsius, or core body temperature, and at the cooler 33 degrees Celsius which is close to the temperature within the nasal cavity.
The research results revealed that the innate immune response to the rhinovirus is impaired at the lower body temperature compared to the core body temperature. This means that the cold-causing virus can replicate faster and more efficiently within body areas like the nose. The research also showed that varying temperatures influenced the immune response to the virus rather than affecting the virus itself.
The research suggests that people should keep warm, and even cover their noses to avoid catching colds, especially when going outside.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research paper is titled “Temperature-dependent innate defense against the common cold virus limits viral replication at warm temperature in mouse airway cells.”
More about Cold virus, Cold, Common cold, Virus, Influenza
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