Inspired living

Cold noses cause colds


Humans seem to like things when they are cool, in fact in the English speaking world we have even elevated “cool” to an adjective that indicates things are good or even superior. Yes, when things get “hot” they have their own appeal too but most of us aspire to being “cool” most of the time. As with most things related to temperature though, it is a matter of degree for while we may want to be cool we really don’t want to be cold. There are many good reasons for not wanting to be cold and a new study has revealed that you really don’t your nose to be cold because…well, you’ll catch a cold.

Colds are most frequently caused by the rhinovirus and we know that the rhinovirus tends to prefer colder temperatures for replication. In this study the researchers used cells from the along the airways of mice to see how a rhinovirus responded at different temperatures.

They exposed the rhinovirus to the cells at temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius as you would find in the lungs and also at 33 degrees Celsius as you would find in the nose. Of course it can get even colder in the nose if it exposed and the external temperature is low.

The researchers found that the immune response to the rhinovirus was significantly impaired at the lower temperature. In fact, the lower the temperature the lower the immune response. This is why the rhinovirus can replicate more readily in the nose than in the lungs.

To protect yourself against cold and flu next winter (in the Southern hemisphere or this season if you are reading in the North) the researchers suggest keeping your nose covered. It might not be the ultimate fashion statement just yet, but there seems to be a business opportunity just waiting for the person who can come up with the “nose onesy”.


Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.