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I Didn't Know That

January 15, 1998

Q: Is there any connection between being cold and catching a cold?

A: No, according to New Scientist magazine. Actually, the viruses that cause colds and flu do not survive very well in cold weather. People catch cold in the winter because they spend much more time indoors in the company of other people, and are thus more likely to be exposed to a virus.

The experience of catching a chill and then catching a cold is actually the reverse of the true process. The first sign of an infection is a fever, which makes people feel cold. When the other symptoms of a cold follow, people associate them with having caught a chill.

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