What is the biggest myth in medicine?

Is the biggest myth in medicine that you catch a cold in cold, wet weather?

Colds are quite common during the winter months. But does the weather have anything to do with it and does the cold really make us sick?
Recently, when we talk about the ailments so common in winter, we most often use words like “virus” or “flu”, but also the word ” cold” or “cold”.

It is precisely this that leads most people to think that it is the cold that makes us sick.

While growing up, our parents often tell us: “Dress well or you’ll catch a cold!” However, the truth is different. Warm clothes are not a surgical mask and will not protect you from viruses circulating around.

Of course, our parents didn’t mislead us on purpose, and we can’t be mad at them. If parents of the past had kept up with today’s science, they would have rather said, “Son, it’s cold outside! Don’t forget to wear a scarf and a hat when you go to play!”

It is normal, however, for people to be misled. For example, going outside and inhaling cold air, condensation occurs and water starts to flow from the nose. This is almost the same symptom that occurs with colds.

Or the throat – you take a deep breath of cold air and it immediately starts to feel dry and irritated. You may even cough.

If you stay longer in the cold, you may start to shiver and your fingers may turn white and numb. Breathing quickens, and the heartbeat quickly follows.

All this happens as the sympathetic nervous system is activated to protect the heart. All these symptoms are similar to those we experience with a cold illness.

When a person’s immune system begins to fight a virus, the body temperature changes above the normal 36.6 degrees Celsius.

With an elevated body temperature, we become more sensitive to the low temperature of the environment and once again experience the same symptoms we have when we are outside in the cold.

Another factor that misleads us into getting sick from the cold is the fact that colds are much more common when the weather is cold than during the hot summer months.

This also has its own explanation. When the weather is cold outside, we tend to spend a lot more time indoors, in closed spaces and in closer proximity to other people. Thus, viruses have a better chance of being transmitted from one person to another through nasal secretions, dirty hands, coughing, and more.

So cold weather has an indirect rather than a direct relationship with infections. This is equivalent to saying that people who carry matches are more likely to get lung cancer. In fact, people who carry matches are more likely to be smokers.

Cold was considered the main cause of colds in the winter season at the very beginning of the birth of modern Western medicine in the 16th century, but even today in a number of countries among people there is a wrong opinion, that it is the cold that makes us sick.

Going back through the years, we can reach the times of ancient Chinese medicine where it was believed that people became ill due to an imbalance of yin and yang.

Even today, when science is so advanced, we still harbor deep in our hearts the doubt that it is the cold that will make us sick in winter.

In fact, these days there are many theories that try in the simplest way to explain to us how people get sick.

One of the most popular beliefs is that with prolonged exposure to cold, the body’s defenses decrease due to exhaustion.

Furthermore, it also highlights the fact that during the summer months UV rays kill viruses, while in the dark and humid winter days this is not the case.

One of the world’s largest studies on this issue to date has been conducted in Great Britain. There, for example, a large number of volunteers were exposed to dampness and low temperature, and then infected with a virus that causes a banal winter infection with runny nose and cough.

The result showed no particular differences between the percentage of those infected who were exposed to dampness and cold and the rest who were not exposed to adverse climatic conditions.

But just because one can’t catch a cold from the cold (despite the similarity in name) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wear warm clothes in winter.

In fact, warm clothes will help us feel more cozy and comfortable, and this will certainly improve the body’s defenses.

And don’t forget – during the winter months, the chance of catching a cold is greater if you stand in a warm room with many people than if you go outside dressed warmly for a very nice long winter walk .

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