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Why cold doesn’t give you a cold

著涼感冒 無關穿多穿少


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

People often attribute catching a cold to being exposed to cold temperatures, believing that staying warm can prevent illness. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC), however, says there is no scientific basis for this belief.


CDC deputy director-general Philip Lo says this common misconception may be due to the fact that cold sufferers can develop symptoms like feeling chills and shaking, as well as the increase in numbers of cold sufferers in the winter.


According to Lo, a US study divided people into two groups, with one asked to stay in a cold storage room kept at 4 degrees Celsius, and the other in a hot spring. The study found the risks of catching a cold were about the same for both groups, and concluded that changes in temperature are not directly linked to the chances of catching a cold.


Lo says the key factor that leads to colds is the amount of pathogens present. The reason there are more cold sufferers when temperature drops, he said, is that viruses live longer, and are more contagious, in colder weather.


The government is offering free flu vaccines and is urging people eligible for the free service to get vaccinated as soon as possible.


Members of the public who develop symptoms such as fever and coughing, which may indicate flu, are advised to wear a mask when going out, or to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, to prevent the virus from spreading.


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