“Get a cold”. This expression, close to the urban legend, is neither completely false nor completely true. Although temperature is not the direct cause of illness, cold still plays a role in our ability to protect ourselves from airborne viruses.
Where does the expression “catching a cold” come from?
If the expression “catching cold” means “get sick“, them origins of this verb phrase, often used by parents to convince their children to cover up before going outside, are unknown. It’s about a popular belief so strong that it would be used in several languages as English (“get a cold”) or theSpanish (“coger frio”).
What does “catching a cold” mean?
Technically, it is impossible to catch a cold. And covering up more in winter would have little effect on getting sick or not. What makes us sick are viruses flu, gastro, angina or even bronchiolitis which we talk about more in winter. But why are these microbes more virulent in winter? “The cold does indeed have consequences. The cold irritates the nose and bronchial tubes and paralyzes the eyelashes in the first line of defence” explains Dr Judith Loeb Mansour, general practitioner. What the study published in December 2022 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology confirmed. Cells in the nose release extracellular vesicles (EVs) to counter viruses. According to scientists, falling temperatures could then decrease the protective power of these EVsallowing germs to pass through the nose, the first entry point for viruses. Another important factor is our way of life. “In winter, we stay and regroup in the warmthin spaces with little or no ventilation and where germs can accumulate. In addition, our morale and our body suffer from the absence of the sun (which can affect immunity, editor’s note). And the doctor adds: “We also fall more ill when we do not have a healthy lifestyle. Having a good diet, a sporting activity, not smoking and not drinking is therefore recommended.” Lack of vitamin D could also impact our ability to protect ourselves from infections.
Can you catch cold on your feet?
It is impossible to catch a cold or the flu through the feet since viruses mainly pass through the nose and mouth. Walking barefoot therefore has no impact on getting sick. On the other hand, the cooling of the feet which then spreads to the body does not help when a virus infects us!
What are the symptoms when you catch a cold?
The symptoms of winter illnesses are generally the following: fever, body aches, cough, runny nose, chills, sore throat…
What treatments if you have caught a cold?
The treatment must be adapted to the pathology. Judith Loeb Mansour recalls that he do not take antibiotics without a prescription and advises, to start with having good hydration, eating fruits and vegetables, washing your nose, taking lozenges in case of sore throat, cough syrup and resting. “Do not hesitate to consult if the situation worsens, if the symptomatology is worrying or if there is any doubt.”
Thank you to Dr Judith Loeb Mansour, general practitioner and author of “Adventures and misadventures of a country doctor, a life of dreams”.