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March 2020

Being cold isn’t why you get a cold

As cold and flu season ramps up – even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – some people still follow the old adage of “Don’t go outside without a coat; you’ll catch a cold.”

 Libby Richards, an associate professor of nursing in Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, says that is not necessarily true and explains how people are more vulnerable to catch colds and the flu during the winter.   

 Richards specializes in public and population health nursing, including the importance of vaccinations, flu safety and exercise.

“Many viruses, including rhinovirus – the usual culprit in the common cold – and influenza, remain infectious longer and replicate faster in colder temperatures. That’s why these viruses spread more easily in winter. Wearing a heavy coat won’t necessarily make a difference.”

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