does cold air kill germs? (thoughts of a fresh air fiend)

 

 

I was cleaning out an overload of emails on my computer yesterday and came across a few emails I had forgotten about between a relative of mine and me from last winter.

The gist of our “electronic conversation” was as follows.

 

***************************************************

 

My relative said she had a bad cold. The usual symptoms: congestion, ache, cough, lassitude, etc. Plus, blocked sinuses. The blocked sinuses were really bothering her. “I can barely breathe,” she wrote.

She said she was resting, sleeping a lot, drinking a lot of tea with honey, and STAYING INDOORS.

I advised her as follows:

— To get outside. To go for a walk, preferably a long one if she could manage to.

— That I thought fresh air would ease the congestion. “The cold, crisp air will be very good for you. I am certain that you will come back feeling much better.”

— I suggested drinking fresh squeezed orange juice.

My relative purchased nasal spray. I was wondering if it did any good and if perhaps it actually does more harm than good.

My relative wrote me back that, in her opinion, “the cold and wind make it worse.” That WARM air and temperatures are desirable when someone has a cold.

I said that, in my opinion, being confined inside with indoor heat makes a cold worse.

“Fresh air, yes, but not cold,” she replied. “There are a lot sick people outside at this time of the year. Coughing. Spreads germs!”

 

 

***************************************************

It is my opinion, as I wrote to my relative, that cold air KILLS germs. I had a job one winter a long time ago when I was in my twenties. I was outdoors all day in the cold and snow during the winter months. Shoveling snow; doing manual labor. I never had a scintilla of cold or flu like symptoms all winter.

I said that I didn’t think she would or could catch a cold from others if outdoors. “How would germs spread in the open air?”

I told her that it has been my experience when experiencing symptoms of a cold or cough, that once I go out, the symptoms seem to ease (in the winter months, that is).

“Well,” she said, “if the cold temperature kills germs and viruses, why do humans usually get sick in wintertime?”

I answered that, from my own experience and observations, it seemed that colds develop from:

— constantly alternating between indoors (overheated) and outdoors (cold)

— not staying outdoors long enough to let the cold, fresh air work its beneficial effects

— staying inside most of the time, day and night

— overheated buildings

“The germs love the indoors — the perfect incubator for them. They can’t survive the cold outdoors. It seems whenever I have a cold or cough and get fresh air, I feel better right away.”

 

 

***************************************************

 

My relative thanked me for the advice. “Maybe you’re right,” she said.

I tried to encourage her, drawing upon my own personal philosophy; “FIGHT the cold,” “don’t let it shut you down,” “try to keep active,” “get fresh air.”

“Don’t take my word for it,” I said. I suggested that she Google the topic to see what she would find.

Then, I took it upon myself to Google the topic of fresh air, cold, and germs. And, guess what I found. Most of the “experts” seemed to DISAGREE with me!

A typical entry:

[W]when we breathe in cold air, the blood vessels in our nose may constrict to stop us losing heat. This may prevent white blood cells (the warriors that fight germs) from reaching our mucus membranes and killing any viruses that we inhale, allowing them to slip past our defences unnoticed.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151016-the-real-reason-germs-spread-in-the-winter

 

 

***************************************************

 

I gave up.

But, you know what? I still think I’m right. Fresh air is the best medicine! At all times of the year.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

      February 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts a websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin.
This entry was posted in personal health and exercise and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s