Health Watch - Colds and Flu: Chilling Effect

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Winter is the height of cold and flu season. This week on Health Watch we’ll talk about colds and flu and what you can do about these illnesses. Colds are more common during cold weather. Does that mean that getting cold will give you a cold?

Your mother may have warned you that you’d come down with a cold if you went outside without a coat, but in reality, cold weather doesn’t cause a cold. Dr. Jane Siegel, an infectious diseases expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says it’s exposure to sick people that causes colds and the flu.

If you want to reduce your chances of catching a cold or the flu, avoid tightly packed crowds of people. Staying at least three feet away from others makes you less likely to pick up viruses from them. You can also protect yourself by washing your hands frequently and by keeping your immune system strong with a nutritious diet and plenty of rest. However, this doesn’t mean that getting chilled is good for you, so wear a coat when you go out in cold weather.     


January 2011

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