The Weather Channel took a look at two timely topics this week – myth vs fact about colds and some of the most beautiful and interesting holiday sights from around the world.
According to one of the articles on the Weather Channel website this week, while the belief that cold weather makes you sick is not accurate, it is true that cold weather may, in fact, create conditions that make us more susceptible to getting a cold. They cite Smithsonianmag.com as saying that one reason the cold and flu both spread so much during winter months is that the cold weather sends people indoors for a larger portion of every day.
As explained by Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, chief of the Dr. James J. Rahal Jr. Division of Infectious Disease at New York Hospital Queens, and Dr. Brian P. Currie, vice president and senior medical director of the Montefiore Medical Center in New York in a report from CNN Health, when the weather turns cold, we stay inside more and we breathe each others air (aka each others germs).
School-age children stay indoors during the day instead of going outside for recess when the weather turns cold. Indoors they can’t spread out from each other. They are close together for hours. They spend those hours sneezing on each other, coughing right next to other children, and not washing their hands as they do so. It’s the perfect environment for spreading viruses. Then they bring those viruses home where they stay indoors with their family, who has also been inside with lots of other adults and out of the cold weather most of the day. Our kids share their viruses and we share ours.
The Weather Channel reports that their is, however, a valid health reason to bundle up and stay warm when temperatures drop outside. When our bodies are exposed to frigid weather, our body temperature drops, and, as BBC News reported in January, “the virus behind the common cold is much happier in a cold nose.” The Weather Channel cited a report from Yale University that indicated that in a human body with a temperature of 91 degrees, the cold virus reproduces more quickly because the cells that would normally fight it off don’t function well in the lower temperature. Our temperatures are naturally lower in our noses than in the rest of our body, making them especially susceptible to multiplying virus cells in cold temperatures.
One last reason The Weather Channel gives for rampant colds in the winter is that the colder temperatures evaporate the moisture out of the cold virus, which means those nasty cells hang around longer.
So bundle up when the weather turns cold. Stay inside and drink hot chocolate, hot tea, or what photographer Amos Chapple told weather.com that citizens of the coldest city on earth – Oymyakon, Russia – drink: “Russki chai, literally Russian tea, which is their word for vodka.”
Despite the cold weather and the abundance of colds during the winter months, there are many fun things to do and some beautiful sights that can be seen only when that nip is in the air and snow is on the ground. There are winter sports like snowboarding and skiing, fun activities to do with the kids like building snowmen and going sledding, and winter holidays. Along with its coverage of the common cold, The Weather Channel, provided two series of pictures of things that can be seen only in the frigid temperatures. One is titled “Holiday Lights from Around the World” and the other is “Amazing Places to See Reindeer Around the World.” The series features beautiful scenes from a range of places including Scandanavia, Alaska, England, and Germany.
For your viewing pleasure, some additional photos that are cause for celebration when the weather outside is frightful.
[Photo courtesy of Spencer Platt/Getty Images]