Our parents, our grandparents, even our aunts and uncles have always gotten on our case about dressing well during winter time. Or any other cold weather for that matter. The science behind the common cold tells us that the rhinovirus is the sole culprit when it comes to this illness.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Yale University tells us that there might just be something to these claims. It might even turn out that this is not just a simple wives’ tale. It is a well-known fact that the rhinovirus can easier be replicated in cooler environments. For this exact reason, the virus enters the nasal cavity, which is cooler than other parts of the body. Still, scientists do not know why this occurs. One of the theories is that the virus works better when it finds itself in colder surroundings. Another is that the immune system just slows down and works worse overall when it finds itself in lower temperature surroundings.
Scientists tested this theory by looking at various cells and the ways they react when they find themselves in different temperatures. What they paid most attention to is the innate immune system and the way it reacts when it comes into contact with the rhinovirus. For this, scientists examined a group of mice and their airway cells. When the mice were subjected to lower temperatures, their immune systems produced fewer proteins called interferons. As the body lowered the production of these proteins, the virus started to develop and spread more quickly. Something similar happens to human cells as well. When looking at the human immune system, scientists noticed that higher temperatures in some parts of the body activate innate immune pathways. These pathways are then much better at performing their job, which is to block the growth of the virus. Also, our bodies create more enzymes that can degrade the invading viral genome which improves our chances of defeating the virus. The issue is that scientists still do not have a clear idea as to how our immune system and its defenses work when it comes to suppressing the rhinovirus.
Until scientists discover a better way to battle the cold there are some things that every person can do to help themselves have a more pleasant time when they catch a cold. Warming up your nose is a good place to start definitely, but the rhinovirus can spread in other ways. People need to always make sure that their hands are clean. This is important since the virus can be spread through our eyes, mouth, and ears. And this all happens because our hands help transmit germs to those areas. The simple way of going about this is that if your hands are clean the virus cannot get into your nose. If the virus is not in your nose there is no way for the infection to spread. There are other ways to boost your immune system, but it is important to note that our immune system is exactly that, a system consisting of many different parts, it is not an entity. The system as a whole needs to be in balance. There is still research to be done on this topic, but still, some things can help in keeping your immune systems functionality at a high level.
A balanced diet is key, as is regular exercise. Aging is not something that can be stopped or reversed, but stress definitely is. And it is one of the main factors behind many illnesses. A healthy lifestyle reduces the chances of succumbing to the rhinovirus greatly.