Bundle Up



When we were little tots living under the safety of our parents’ roof, no matter where you may have lived, whenever the temperature dropped from the balmy wonders of the summer heat, you can probably remember an adult yelling after you as you swung open the front door, “Bundle up or you’ll catch a cold!” And although, sooner or later, they were going to be right, as you walked back in the house, did you really understand why?

Junior applied psychology major Morgan Allen said, “I think it’s true that if you don’t bundle up you will most definitely get sick.”  She shared that when she was younger she caught pneumonia twice.

Sophomore nursing major Samantha Johnson said, “I feel like I get sick more in the winter than in the spring or summer. I am always coughing once the Christmas lights hit the streets.”

A study done by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine shed some light onto why many people feel those runny noses start up when the holidays hit.

During the summertime, when temperatures and the humidity are high, airborne droplets of the viruses that a sick person spits out as they cough or sneeze are bigger and tend to sink to the ground really quickly cutting the time that they remain airborne. At temperatures around 75-80 degrees there is virtually zero risk of infection. But during the winter, because the humidity and the temperature are lower, the virus droplets are smaller and will stay suspended in the air longer, which increases the chances of someone inhaling them.

“Flu viruses are more stable in colder, drier conditions – meaning that they remain infectious for a longer period after leaving the sick person’s body,” states Doctor Salvatore Cilmi. “Because the airborne viruses are smaller and less dense in the winter air, they are able to be inhaled more deeply into the lungs and into your respiratory passage where they can latch on and cause you to become sick”.

So when your parents were yelling at you to bundle up, it was for a good reason.

Senior psychology major Victoria Krausz says that even now when she is in college and away from home, she can still hear her mother’s voice in her head warning her that she was going to catch a cold if her chest was exposed.

The cold air of the winter months is what makes the normal mucous in our lungs respiratory tracts sticky and gooey. It then clogs up the tiny hair-like cilia that move in waves to normally get rid of particles that we breathe in and get stuck in our respiratory passage. So, when all of this happens, the inhaled viruses tend to stay where they land, reproducing and causing a respiratory infection.

So, while we all may be big boys and girls now, away from our parents, never forget the strained, repeated reminders that they never failed to yell at you: bundle up before you catch a cold.