Knoxville (WVLT) -- You probably heard the same thing from your mom that we all have, if you didn’t dress warm in the winter, you would catch a cold.
Temperatures have dropped more than 50 degrees in just five days.
So we set out to find out once and for all, whether mom was right.
Well, she was both right and wrong and it turns out there are a few reasons why.
Medical research has proven time and time again that viruses and bacteria make us sick, not cold weather.
Even so, these days, Dr. Paul Carter at the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center is treating more and more patients with runny noses.
"It swells up on the inside, to try to slow down the air movement through the nose,” he said, “so it can warm it and humidify it. It gets drippier, because it's trying to humidify that cold, dry air."
Dr. Carter says most colds occur in the winter because we stay indoors and are exposed to other people who are sick.
That’s why dry cold weather removes moisture from the airways, making them more susceptible to infection.
"What can happen, if you've been recently exposed to a virus and you stay outside in the cold for an extended period of time, is your immune system may be a little shocked,” Dr. Carter said, “and it may be easier for the virus to take hold."
To keep from getting sick when winter weather settles in, eat healthfully and exercise.
That will help you fight off any germs you are exposed to.
Also avoid stress because studies show an increased risk of infections among stressed out people.
And remember to wash your hands, good old soap and water will do.
A study released last week shows flu spreads primarily in the winter because of the nature of the virus itself.
Flu is more stable and stays in the air longer when it's cold and dry.
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