As I write this, the front office sounds like the Tuberculosis Wing at the hospital. Everyone has returned from holiday break coughing, hacking, sneezing, and generally sounding gross. But why did everyone get sick? Does the cold make you sick?

ASAP Science--one of my favorite YouTube channels--takes a look at this exact question, and comes out with some interesting results. Here's what they found:

  • Getting sick can be influenced by temperature. When our cells are warm, they undergo a kind of "self destruct" when infected. When they are cold, they don't.
  • Cold temperatures may constrict your blood vessels causing white blood cells, your protectors, to have a slower reaction time to an invading virus.
  • When cold, a virus has a solid "protective shield" around it that allows it to spread from person to person much easier. During warmer months a virus' envelope is much softer limiting its impact.

During colder months we tend to stay indoors more often, which puts us into contact with more people who may have a virus. During cold and flu season remember to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands often.

So if you're heading out into the cold, put on a coat.