The Common Cold & Its Cause : LUSENET : Middle School Science : One Thread

I keep having arguments with people on my way to work, these cool November mornings while I stubbornly refuse to wear a jacket, about what causes the common cold. "Surely not wearing a jacket is going to make you ill." Nonsense, I say. Check out this entry from Encarta on the subject. I've been hearing of similar results from other scientific studies since I was in high school, and no one seems to believe the scientific studies except me. What gives?

-- Michael Gatton (, November 06, 2000


Here's the pertinent passage for those who don't want to read the whole article:

from 'Tis the Season to be Sickly
By Tamim Ansary

The theory that colds were caused by exposure to cold, damp weather came around in 16th-century England. Ben Franklin disproved this myth with scientific experiments conducted on himself, but he couldn't convince his contemporaries. Scientists later proved that Franklin was right, yet many people still believe colds are caused by cold.

Did You How?

In 1946 British researchers did a careful series of experiments on three groups of test subjects. One group was made to take hot showers, then stand for hours in a cold draft wearing wet bathing suits, and then go to bed wearing wet socks. This group was not exposed to any cold viruses. None of them got colds. The other two groups were given doses of a cold virus. One group was made to go through the same cold-and-wet regimen described above, and the other was kept warm and dry. In two out of three tests, the subjects in the groups that got cold and wet got fewer colds than the test subjects who stayed warm and dry.

-- Michael Gatton (, November 08, 2000.

Mike - I believe you!! the "common cold" is most commonly caused by 2 RNA viruses: Rhinovirus and coronavirus. Cold weather is, of course, not a virus! The only way that cold weather might "cause" a cold would be if the temperature somehow caused an immune- suppression, making one more susceptible to viral infection. And, as far as I know, this does not happen.

-- jonathan brenner (, November 08, 2000.

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