Thursday, February 02, 2012

Say What?: Being cold can give you a Cold

You know how when you were young and your mother said that during the winter when you got cold, that's what caused a Cold? Or when someone says you could catch your death of the cold? While this made sense to our undeveloped minds that accepted what seemed to be a logical concept, that being cold caused the Cold; its really more of a correlation than a causation.

“Colds are caused by viruses, and the contact with these viruses usually occurs inside from air droplets” 

Kind of a nasty thought, but the cold virus actually grows/multiplies in your nose, and that by sneezing, coughing, or touching your nose combined with poor hand-washing practices is how Cold's are spread. So maybe the myth that being cold causes a Cold was believable was because winter is when its cold and when outbreaks occur; however it is really the coincidence that when you go outside and are cold it causes your nose (and almost everyone else's) to run and by then consequently wiping your nose with your hand (gross) or a tissue, you could be causing the virus to spread by then touching objects that someone else has or will touch i.e. toys, public drinking fountains, door handles, keyboards, handshakes.

So stay clear of anyone who has a runny nose or just coughed right? Well, yeah that may get you so far but another Cold myth is that all people who are contagious are those who are showing symptoms, but actually 25% of those who are infected with the Cold virus only have an asymptomatic reaction meaning they don't have symptoms!

So for those that don't want to get sick, wash your hands FREQUENTLY. Not just after going to the bathroom. Additionally avoid touching your hand to your mouth or nose or eyes if you haven't just barely washed it. And I mean still wet kind of just washed it.

And for those that think that hand sanitizer is a cure all, think again! As taught in Microbiology, handsanitizer is only effective if allowed to stay wet on your hands for approximately a minute. However because of the high alcohol in it, it evaporates really fast especially if you rub it in, which makes it useless against killing the germs. If you're going to use it, put on enough to wet your hands, especially fingers, and don't rub it in. Let it stay on wet for about a minute and then it will really be effective.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People touch their face between 2000 and 3000 times a day. Just think of all those chances to spread germs! I work in a microbiology lab so I knew these things, but it's crazy how many people just don't think about it.