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Think yourself ill/better

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Mefiante
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2010, 12:29:26 PM »

The essential point, though, is that colder temperatures increase the virus’s transmissibility and therefore temperature does play a role in the spread of the common cold.  It may well be only a minor factor which doesn’t negate all of the other contributory ones, but it certainly does put the lie to the claim that it is merely an old wives’ tale that keeping warm will help avoid catching a cold.

'Luthon64
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GCG
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2010, 13:03:19 PM »

maybe its allso a case of, when your body is warm, it doesnt have to expend as much energy to try and keep functionality at optimum, and it can spend resources on fighting bacteria and viruses.
when you are cold, and your body has to create heat by making your shiver, and whatnot, resources needed to create antibodies, is pretty thinly streched.
on the other hand, when a whole bunch of people are in an office, and germs are circulated in the stale air and via the aircon, then everyone pick up the bugs.  whereas when one would have a window open, the fresh air would thin out the germ to air ratio a bit.

dunno, just a thought.
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Lurkie
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2010, 14:56:22 PM »

A little more googling has revealed some more interesting flu facts.

Looks like absolute humidity is also pretty influential (he, he, silly pun I can't resist). The higher the amount of water vapour in the air, the worse the chances of airborne flu virus survival. Exactly why this is still up for debate.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/02/090209-flu-humidity.html

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63293/title/Dry_air_might_boost_flu_transmission

A sauna a day keeps the doctor away!
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2010, 08:16:02 AM »

Welcome Lurkie. The "outer gel" theory still has nothing to do with "keeping warm" in cold temperatures. The virus will react the same to your body temperature whether you are dressed warmly or not. So the old wives tale remains false - wearing a jersey still does not determine whether you contract the flu virus. If you catch it, you catch it, whether you are dressed warmly or not.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2010, 08:41:25 AM »

With everything else being equal, you are at higher risk of catching the flu in a cold environment than in a warm one, given this new knowledge about the virus and how temperature affects its transmissibility.  Ergo, there is a little bit of truth to the “old wives’ tale.”  Wearing a jersey, or not, when going into a cold environment obviously doesn’t come into it, whereas staying in a warm one does.

But let’s look at how this topic originally arose.
… I think it's incredible how many people in SA cling to the notion that a cold is somehow directly linked to fresh air and being cold. I endured extremely cold, uncomfortable winters at school because the teachers insisted on keeping all doors and windows open at all times.
Now if that same environment had instead been comfortably warm, still with a good supply of fresh air, the likelihood of flu transmission would have been lower.  That’s the point.

'Luthon64
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2010, 08:57:30 AM »

Now if that same environment had instead been comfortably warm, still with a good supply of fresh air, the likelihood of flu transmission would have been lower.  That’s the point.

'Luthon64
Yes, and a brilliant point too. Agreed.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2010, 17:57:17 PM »

Oh my, I see in my absence a debate has gone down and ended on a modern urban myth that I find highly irritating.

Well done skeptics.

I never believed the claim that cold temperatures have NOTHING to do with the flu (call me woo-ish for believing it despite the lack of evidence and based on my own intuition, for a while), and when that linked article came around a while ago I almost leapt for joy that it'd finally been proven. I've been trying to correct people ever since, however it's an uphill battle.
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Andysor
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« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2010, 11:51:28 AM »

Personally, base on current research and the anecdotal experiences of living in Norway for many years, the "people spending time inside together a lot" and "colder temperatures = low humidity" theories are the most plausible to me. That doesn't mean I don't think there are other factors; just that I don't believe they are very significant.
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Hermes
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2010, 14:53:24 PM »

My anecdotal observation is that flu is no less prevalent in winter rainfall areas than in summer rainfall areas.   This would suggest that temperature, rather than humidity, plays the predominant role in infection rate.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2010, 22:16:55 PM »

Oh my, I see in my absence a debate has gone down and ended on a modern urban myth that I find highly irritating.

Well done skeptics.
This comment has been preying on my mind for a while now.  Please elaborate on whether it is meant as acid sarcasm or genuine affirmation – or something else altogether.  In each case, an explanation of how the thread’s change in direction marks a downturn, presumably towards something that should, according to your phrasing, supposedly be below the dignity of sceptics.

EDIT:  Could it be as simple and as polar as the difference between “a debate has gone down” and “the debate has gone down” (with different meanings to “gone down,” depending on the bolded article)?

'Luthon64
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 22:35:57 PM by Mefiante » Logged
Andysor
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2010, 23:55:14 PM »

My anecdotal observation is that flu is no less prevalent in winter rainfall areas than in summer rainfall areas.   This would suggest that temperature, rather than humidity, plays the predominant role in infection rate.

If you are referring to areas within SA I think the geographical distances and frequency of travel would render any local humidity variability moot. If you consider a forest-fire analogy: once the fire has gotten started in a dry area (reaches critical mass) and is spreading with the wind the only way you're going to stop it is with a large enough fire break. Pockets of damp trees will not stem the blaze.

That's what I would imagine anyway... Grin
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Hermes
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« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2010, 13:16:39 PM »

....the only way you're going to stop it is with a large enough fire break. Pockets of damp trees will not stem the blaze.
Perhaps the sparsely populated Great Karoo is such a fire break, but I do not wish to push the point based on anecdotal observation.
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