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Weather Works: Can cold weather make you sick?

Growing up, your parents probably bundled you up in the winter out of fear you’d get sick from the cold, but how true is that?

MACON, Ga. — Throughout November, Meteorologist Taylor Stephenson will tackle the truth behind weather myths, starting with cold-weather illnesses.

Growing up, your parents probably bundled you up in the winter out of fear you’d get sick from the cold, but how true is that? Well… it’s partially true.

The weather itself can’t give you the cold or flu, but the cold CAN weaken your immune system. During the winter time, we usually see the biggest spikes of the common cold and flu.

When you're outside in the cold, the brisk air can rush up your nose and weaken your nasal passage's immune response, making it easier for viruses to pass through your nose into your body.

There are cold-related illnesses though. Frostbite occurs when your extremities like your fingers or ears freeze in frigid temperatures.

Hypothermia happens when you're exposed to cold air for so long that your body can't produce enough heat to keep you warm. In this case, your brain function can decrease and you can become disoriented.

To prevent both illnesses, wear the proper clothing and head indoors when you feel too cold.

So, no, you can’t get a cold exclusively from the cold weather itself.

If you have a question about how Weather Works, email us at news@13wmaz.com or comment under the post of this story on Facebook. Your question may be the next Weather Works topic.

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