You Are More Likely to Catch Common Cold in Winter – A Doctor Explains Why

As the temperature drops, the exhausting cycle of the flu begins.

4 min read
Hindi Female

Most of us have have the flu at least once a year, and anyone who has suffered through it recently will agree to this- while it is a relatively simple virus, it certainly does not feel like one.

Common cold takes over your system. You spend the entire day cooped up in a blanket (if you're lucky), sneezing and coughing, desperately trying to keep your sniffles to a minimum and praying someone would hand you a hot, steaming bowl of soup.

As the temperature drops, the exhausting cycle of the flu begins.

Have you ever wondered why is it that your neighbour falls sick so easily in the winter, or your father starts complaining of a sore throat? What is it about these months that affects our body so? FIT reached out to Dr. Bela Sharma, Additional Director of Internal Medicine at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, to answer these questions.


What Causes Common Cold?

Common cold is generally, a viral infection.

If someone around you has a cold, then there is a high chance that you might find yourself in the clutches of the same virus.

The problem with this simple infection is that it is highly contagious. It can also spread faster if you have low immunity, or come in contact with an allergy, seasonal flu or dry air.

Why Do You Get More Sick During Winters?


Dr. Bela Sharma, Additional Director of Internal Medicine at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, tells us, "In winters, it is often observed that one gets cold very quickly. Some of the reasons for this are lack of clean air in homes, the switch of dry/cold weather, dry air, and a decrease in our body's ability to defend itself."

  • Lack of clean air in closed houses- In winter, most people prefer to spend time with each other in the same room. The heating in these closed rooms thus, cause a break in ventilation and as a result, there is a lack of clean air in the house.

  • Lack of body's defensive response- Think of it this way: as the temperature decreases, the virus-killing cells inside our nose start getting lazy and their efficency decreases.

  • Lack of skin protection- Our blood vessels move away from the periphery in winter to supply more blood to our internal organs, due to which our skin is left with less protection than it is used to. Ergo, the dryness and scratch marks.

As the temperature drops, the exhausting cycle of the flu begins.

The Common Cold Virus is extremely easy to come in contact with. 

(Photo: iStock)


Dry air- Dry air refers to the air with a lower concentration of moisture. When we breathe in dry air through our nose ,that air makes the nose dry.

What Are the Symptoms of the Common Cold?

Symptoms of the common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to the virus that causes the cold and may appear different for each person.

  • Cold

  • Cough

  • Sore Throat

  • Fever

  • Body Ache

  • Headache

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Fatigue

What is The Treatment?

When it comes to treating a common cold, there are no special medicines required. The cold usually runs its course and if there is a need, symptomatic care is enough.
Dr. Bela Sharma, Additional Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram
As the temperature drops, the exhausting cycle of the flu begins.

Old people are ore susceptible to the common cold. 

(Photo: iStock)

  • In the case of the common cold, take special care of children, old people, and patients with serious illnesses to avoid any compications.

  • People suffering from diabetes or heart disease should consult a doctor in case of a cold.

  • Wear warm clothes.

  • Drink warm liquids like tea, coffee or turmeric milk.

  • Don't smoke.

  • Maintain cleanliness.

  • Keep your distance from cool places for a while. Avoid going out late at night when the weather is cold and harsh.

Prevention and Protection

Remember: Keep yourself and your surroundings sanitized to protect yourself from the sneaky virus.
  • Don't forget to wear a mask when stepping out of the house. Not only will it protect you from germs, but will also keep the cold air out.

  • Avoid any contact with a person infected with the common cold.

  • Get the influenza vaccine every year.

  • Dress warm when you are out.

  • Pick hot drinks over cold ones!

  • Eat loads of citrus fruits.

  • Make soups your best friend.

  • Keep a healthy lifestyle, and try to stay active.

  • Keep your skin clean and moisturised- it could use a little more care this time of the year.

If you want to keep yourself healthy this winter, listen to the doctor and staw miles away from the virus.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Virus   Common Cold 

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