Cold Weather Worsens Common Cold Susceptibility

January 8, 2015

A new study led by researchers at Yale University suggests that the most common culprit behind the common cold is more likely to spread in cooler temperatures, confirming the notion that patients in cool-weather conditions are at greater risk for catching a cold.

A new study led by researchers at Yale University suggests that the most common culprit behind the common cold is more likely to spread in cooler temperatures, confirming the notion that patients in cool-weather conditions are at greater risk for catching a cold.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on January 5, 2015, the study showed that the rhinovirus reproduces more efficiently in the cooler environment inside of the nasal cavity, compared with core body temperature.

"We found that the innate immune response to the rhinovirus is impaired at the lower body temperature compared to the core body temperature," said senior study author Akiko Iwasaki in a press release. "In general, the lower the temperature, it seems the lower the innate immune response to viruses.”

Previous studies focused on how body temperature influences the rhinovirus, rather than the immune response to it. In contrast, the current study suggested that varying body temperatures influence immune response, rather than the virus itself.

Although the study was conducted in mice, the authors noted its findings could provide clues into the rhinovirus within humans, given that approximately 20% of individuals harbor it in their noses at any point in time.