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Cold virus replicates better in cooler temperatures according to Yale researchers - Truth to the old wives' tale?

Common cold
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(NaturalNews) All those times mom warned about possibly catching a cold by stepping out in cooler weather may actually be founded in truth.

According to Yale University researchers, the common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperatures that exist in the nose more than it can at a core body temperature. While this is commonly known in the scientific community, this particular study delves into an area that others have not focused on: analysis of how temperature impacts the immune system, rather than the role that body temperature plays when it comes to just the common cold virus.

For the study, airway cells from participants were incubated at two different temperatures, their immune response to rhinovirus (common cold) explored in each condition. Cell incubation took place at 37 degrees Celsius (core body temperature) and also at a cooler 33 degrees Celsius. "We found that the innate immune response to the rhinovirus is impaired at the lower body temperature compared to the core body temperature," said study senior author and Yale professor of immunobiology Akiko Iwasaki. "In general, the lower the temperature, it seems the lower the innate immune response to viruses."(1)

Cooler temperatures linked to diminished immune function

The study, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), notes the following regarding temperature-dependent growth of the virus:

Rhinovirus is the most frequent cause of the common cold, as well as one of the most important causes of asthma exacerbations. Most rhinovirus strains replicate better at the cooler temperatures found in the nasal cavity than at lung temperature.... Thus, cooler temperatures can enable replication of the common cold virus, at least in part, by diminishing antiviral immune responses.(2)

The Yale researchers suggest that this new information may help explore the many other ways in which temperature affects immune response. For example, they're interested in looking into how it may affect childhood asthma, and may eventually look into the immune response to rhinovirus-induced asthma.

In addition to giving consideration to staying warm to fend off the common cold, there are other ways to help keep sniffles at bay.

While they're commonly known preventative measures, reminders can never hurt.

Tips to prevent the common cold beyond staying warm

To help prevent colds, the main act that can't be stressed enough is that of hand washing. Mark Mengel, MD, chair of community and family medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine says to wash hands frequently. He suggests washing them not only after shaking hands but as often as possible, even if there hasn't been contact with a potentially infected person or surface. Doing so washes germs down the drain and decreases the likelihood of them ending up in the nose, mouth or eyes.(3)

Staying active is also important. Physical activity helps build and maintain a strong immune system, which makes a cold less likely to set in. Therefore, consider taking more walks or visiting the gym more often.(3)

Eating healthy foods is another way to prevent catching a cold. Consumption of plenty of fruits and vegetables is key, not just when it comes to keeping the cold virus away, but in keeping overall health intact. By shunning junk foods and instead choosing fresh, healthier options, the body is better able to fight off illness thanks to a strong immune system.(3)


(1) http://news.yale.edu

(2) http://www.pnas.org

(3) http://www.health.com

About the author:
A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. >>> Click here to see more by Antonia

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