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Cold Weather & Colds

It has been bitterly cold across the country including my home state of Texas. We have survived “icemageddon” which is finally starting to melt and kids around here are back...

It has been bitterly cold across the country including my home state of Texas. We have survived “icemageddon” which is finally starting to melt and kids around here are back in school. 

But one theme I keep hearing from parents is that this cold weather causes colds. NOT TRUE!  MYTH!   Viruses are the cause of most of the colds that are making both children and adults sniff and cough.  What does happen during the winter months is that we all tend to spend more time indoors and this is where it starts. Cold weather is not typically conducive to outdoor activities like the playground or bike riding. (but for some ice skating and sledding). In other words, we spend more time inside, gathered together in enclosed spaces. (malls, movies, house)  

But, when we all head indoor, the coughs and colds don’t stop, and the germs are easily spread from person to person. The more time we spend inside, whether we are in a mall shopping or in school, it makes it easier to catch a cold. 

Children are great at spreading germs, and not purposely. While they are learning to share at pre-school, this sharing also includes their viruses. Younger children are just learning to cover their mouths when they cough and they touch their noses and face all day long.  They also put everything in their mouths and then set it down for their friends to “share”.  It is not unusual for children between the ages of 1-3 years to get 5-6 colds during the winter months alone.

So....in reality, being outside, even in cold weather does not cause a cold. Rather,  it is that we spend more time inside sharing our germs. So, just bundle everyone up appropriately and do get some fresh air during the winter months. Remember cough hygiene and those flu vaccines as well.  Viruses do like cold, dry weather, but they love us being cooped up in the house even more.

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About Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award winning pediatrician and medical editor for www.kidsdr.com.  She is a native of Washington, D.C. who travelled south to attend the University of Texas at Austin and never left.Read More

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