The virus behind the common cold is much happier in a cold nose, US researchers suggest.
Their study showed the human immune system was weaker in cooler temperatures, allowing the virus to thrive.
The researchers suggested keeping your nose warm and avoiding cold air while infected.
The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
Rhinoviruses are one of the main groups of virus that leaves our noses streaming and us sneezing.
The team at Yale University tested rhinoviruses at a nose temperature of 33C, and a normal body temperature of 37C.
“We’ve known for 50 years that it replicated better in the nose, but the mechanism has never been clearly defined,” researcher Dr Akiko Iwasaki told the BBC.
She said the immune system became weaker in a cold nose and gave the virus more opportunities to replicate.
Two important tools – a set of sensors that detect infection and chemicals that co-ordinate the immune response – were less effective at cooler temperatures.
Rhinovirus is one of the major sources of the common cold. Other factors including different human behaviour in winter compared with summer have also been implicated in winter colds.
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