What really causes a cold?

  1. If colds are caused by viruses and pnemonia by a bacteria then why would being cold cause you to get sick? If there are no bugs around would you still get sick from just being chilled? I ask this because I caught a cold after standing in line at 4:30 am Friday morning in the freezing air. Today, I finally felt better, but got caught in the freezing rain, got soaked, and then had to go back into the cold and the wind. Is it true that the cold virus enters your nose? I meant to ask all these questions in Micro, but I never got around to it.
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Things you touch, air you breath, food, dirt you touch, unsanitized utensils, etc.

    There are many ways that viruses and bacteria are transmitted.

    Think back to Micro when you learned about airborne, direct contact, and the other methods of transmission. If I remember correctly, respiratory was the #1 method of transmission to a human.


    Sorry you caught something. I hope you feel better soon.

    Quote from CRNASOMEDAY25
    If colds are caused by viruses and pnemonia by a bacteria then why would being cold cause you to get sick? If there are no bugs around would you still get sick from just being chilled? I ask this because I caught a cold after standing in line at 4:30 am Friday morning in the freezing air. Today, I finally felt better, but got caught in the freezing rain, got soaked, and then had to go back into the cold and the wind. Is it true that the cold virus enters your nose? I meant to ask all these questions in Micro, but I never got around to it.
  4. by   NurseLatteDNP
    I might remember it wrong, but I think that a cold is caused by bacteria and flu is caused by viruses.
  5. by   Gompers
    Two things jumped out at me:

    1. You were in line at 4:30 in the morning, the day after an exhausting holiday, so that doesn't help your immune system in the first place.

    2. You spent the day with holiday shoppers - meaning you were exposed to hundreds and hundreds of people with their different germs.

    Hope you feel better!
  6. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from Gompers
    Two things jumped out at me:

    1. You were in line at 4:30 in the morning, the day after an exhausting holiday, so that doesn't help your immune system in the first place.

    2. You spent the day with holiday shoppers - meaning you were exposed to hundreds and hundreds of people with their different germs.

    Hope you feel better!
    Agreed.

    Both cold and flu are caused by viruses.

    Standing in chilly air when wet doesn't automatically = catching a cold. Just makes you more susceptible to catching one.

    My theory is that cold viruses are everywhere, but prolonged exposure to harsh elements (cold air and water) somehow weakens your immune system enough for the cold virus to infect you.
  7. by   KrisRNwannabe
    I heard on Good Morning America that a British study was done and it concluded that when the body gets cold, it lowers the immune system and can cause the rhinovirus to attack the body. I have always found this to be true with me. two weeks ago I laid down to take a nap and felt fine. our bedroom was cold and i woke up with a sore throat which progressed to a cold. However, I swear by Zicam. I start taking as soon as I realize i am getting sick. if i catch it quick enough I don't even get sick. If not, then i keep taking it until it goes away which is usually 2 days with Zicam. otherwise i would be very sick for 4-5 days.
  8. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from KrisRNwannabe
    I heard on Good Morning America that a British study was done and it concluded that when the body gets cold, it lowers the immune system and can cause the rhinovirus to attack the body. I have always found this to be true with me. two weeks ago I laid down to take a nap and felt fine. our bedroom was cold and i woke up with a sore throat which progressed to a cold. However, I swear by Zicam. I start taking as soon as I realize i am getting sick. if i catch it quick enough I don't even get sick. If not, then i keep taking it until it goes away which is usually 2 days with Zicam. otherwise i would be very sick for 4-5 days.

    I am the same way. If I take a shower and lay down with my hair still humid I always wake up with a sore throat, and later becomes a cold too.
  9. by   GPatty
    Quote from Fun2Care
    Things you touch, air you breath, food, dirt you touch, unsanitized utensils, etc.

    There are many ways that viruses and bacteria are transmitted.
    :yeahthat:
  10. by   weetziebat
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    I am the same way. If I take a shower and lay down with my hair still humid I always wake up with a sore throat, and later becomes a cold too.
    And I always thought I was the only one! If I go outside, even in the summer, with wet hair - I get sick. Weird how wet hair could cause your immune system to freak out.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    That stuff about the hair does not apply to me. I have long, thick, curly (nearly waist length) hair. and IT is NEVER DRY it seems. I put it up in a bun, or in a clip and the next day, when I shower it is still damp near my head--can actually smell the conditioner in it still. It just never dries some days, particularly in winter (it's damp in Seattle in winter).

    I just have not got the time to dink around w/blowdrying my hair---takes forever. But, I never get sick or I would take the time (and wattage) to blow it dry. I dont' believe being cold makes us sick----but if we are fighting something, I do believe our defenses can be damaged some by being either too hot or too cold. It just makes sense, to me.
  12. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    That stuff about the hair does not apply to me. I have long, thick, curly (nearly waist length) hair. and IT is NEVER DRY it seems. I put it up in a bun, or in a clip and the next day, when I shower it is still damp near my head. It just never dries some days, particularly in winter. I never get sick, or I would take the time (and wattage) to blow it dry. I dont' believe being cold makes us sick----but if we are fighting something, I do believe our defenses can be damaged some by being either too hot or too cold. It just makes sense, to me.



    Same with myself! I put my hair up in a clip everyday, and take it out at night. My hair is still damp when I go to bed.


    Now, if I'm out and it's cold, I may get a runny nose while I'm out in the cold, but I think that has to do with allergies, or maybe it's an automatic defense mechanism that the body has.
  13. by   HappyJaxRN
    Quote from CRNASOMEDAY25
    If colds are caused by viruses and pnemonia by a bacteria then why would being cold cause you to get sick? If there are no bugs around would you still get sick from just being chilled? I ask this because I caught a cold after standing in line at 4:30 am Friday morning in the freezing air. Today, I finally felt better, but got caught in the freezing rain, got soaked, and then had to go back into the cold and the wind. Is it true that the cold virus enters your nose? I meant to ask all these questions in Micro, but I never got around to it.
    Anything that impairs your immune system and hypothermia is one of them, makes you suseptible to bugs, viruses included. Most people have viruses already in their system....lying dormant and oppertunistic....waiting for the oppertunity to chomp down on your healthy cells while the macrophages and T-cells are surpressed.

    A lot of people have MRSA don't know it....because they have an intact immune system. It's when the immune system is impaired, doesn't take much....and BOOM! You're sick....even lack of sleep causes an impaired immune system.
  14. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from weetziebat
    And I always thought I was the only one! If I go outside, even in the summer, with wet hair - I get sick. Weird how wet hair could cause your immune system to freak out.
    It is weird, but many people experience this.

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