We’ve always heard from our family members, or perhaps from a caring neighbor or teacher, to put our coat on when the temperature drops or we’ll catch a cold. But does cold weather actually make you catch a cold or other infectious illnesses? The answer is no! However, some viruses (like the influenza virus) thrive in cold temperatures.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a professor at the University Health Network in Toronto and an authority on infectious diseases has said “The fact that it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that someone’s going to get a cold.”

“The fact that it’s cold outside means that the season is changing, and there are some infections which become more viable in the winter months,” he added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cases of the flu rise in winter, with February most commonly being the top month for an infection. Though it can be caught throughout the year, the U.S. flu season typically lasts from around October to March.

Researchers believe that’s because, in colder temperatures and dry conditions, the influenza virus stays more stable and longer in the air, and therefore is more quickly spread. Chronic respiratory problems can also be aggravated by the same weather conditions.

In fact, when it’s cold outside, it might seem that more people get sick, but Bogoch speculated that it may be because so many individuals are trapped together indoors. Increased exposure to individuals in a closed space can result in greater chances of transmitting germs.

Experts claim washing hands and getting a flu shot are the safest ways of protecting yourself from falling ill.

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