The science behind getting sick in winter -
The science behind getting sick in winter
Posted 09 Jan 2023 01:32 PM


Date :- 09-01-2023
Watsupptoday Desk

Winter is generally a boom time for respiratory viruses and with the sudden dip in temperatures in Northern India and the cold wave sweeping in, common cold and coughs are being witnessed rampantly. A recent study has revealed why cold weather typically translates to the cold and flu season. Well, our nose is to blame. The team of scientists from Boston's Northwestern University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, who published the study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, investigated the role of our noses and how it is the body's first contact with the outside world.The study, which began in 2018, observed that the nose is equipped with defences to stop invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, in their tracks. The researchers found that when the nose detects bacteria, it releases a swarm of tiny fluid-filled sacs meant to attack and neutralise it. Dr Benjamin Bleier, director of otolaryngology translational research at Massachusetts Eye and Ear said, "When you kick a hornet's nest, the hornets swarm out and try to kill whatever the attacker is before it can attack the nest. That's how the body works." The new study shows that the nose deploys defences to attack any respiratory viruses, including two rhinoviruses, one that causes common cold, and a coronavirus (not the one that causes COVID-19). The researchers measured the nasal temperatures of healthy human volunteers at about 74 degrees Fahrenheit versus approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They found that the nasal cavity's temperature dropped by about 9 degrees Fahrenheit in colder conditions. In the laboratory, nasal cell samples were exposed to a similar reduction in temperature, to see what actually happens within the nose in a cold climate. It was found that the immune response was significantly blunted at the lower temperature. This means that the nose's defence mechanism goes cold at lower temperatures, which is why there is a rise in common cold and runny nose in winter. The nose's "potent antiviral immune defense functions" were "impaired by cold exposure." To further the study, the researchers stated that this could lead to new therapeutics, study co-author Mansoor Amiji, chairman of the department of pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern said. Amiji added that if scientists can find a way to strengthen the nose's immune response under cold temperatures, they can find ways to stop more viral illnesses in winter.

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