Common sense prevails in the end. But science is still needed to validate it. Researchers from Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre have proved for the first time that there is relationship between chilling and viral cold infections:
For the first time, new research, published in the medical journal Family Practice by Claire Johnson and Professor Ron Eccles at the University’s Common Cold Centre supports the folklore of chilling and colds. Previous scientific studies had dismissed any relationship between chilling and viral infection as having no scientific basis.
180 volunteers were recruited for the study during the common cold season in Cardiff (October to March). The volunteers took their shoes and socks off and half had their feet chilled in ice cold water for 20 minutes while the others sat with their feet in an empty bowl. 29% of the chilled volunteers developed cold symptoms over the next 4-5 days compared to only 9% in the control group.
Professor Ron Eccles said: “When colds are circulating in the community many people are mildly infected but show no symptoms. If they become chilled this causes a pronounced constriction of the blood vessels in the nose and shuts off the warm blood that supplies the white cells that fight infection. The reduced defences in the nose allow the virus to get stronger and common cold symptoms develop. Although the chilled subject believes they have “caught a cold” what has in fact happened is that the dormant infection has taken hold.”