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The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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Bundling Up for Winter isn’t a Safety Measure Against Colds

While dressing warmly in the cold weather will not prevent from catching a cold, it is important to still do it
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DEREK FRENCH VIA PEXELS
Even if bundling up doesn’t make you immune to the cold, it’s still important to wear layers to protect against frostbite and hypothermia.

As the weather gets colder, parents all over the world zip up their childrens’ coats, pull hats onto their heads and mittens over their hands. They warn them that if they don’t bundle up, they may get sick. Despite its pervasive nature, the notion that you can get sick from being cold is, in fact, a myth.

According to Michelle Festa, a family doctor at Medford Medical Center, the only way to get a virus such as a cold or the flu is from coming into contact with that virus, often by coming into contact with someone who is exhibiting symptoms, or touching a surface before proceeding to  feel your mouth, nose or face. 

The main reason people get sick more often during the winter, then, is not the cold weather, but rather the drier air, which dries the mucous membranes in your nasal passages and makes it easier for viruses to enter. Cold weather also has the potential to reduce the efficacy of your immune system, but most doctors agree that the effect is marginal.

While it may not prevent you from catching a cold, bundling up and dressing warmly during the winter is still critical when it comes to preventing frostbite and hypothermia — even when the weather seems to be on the mild side. 

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service noted that frostbite is caused by exposure to freezing temperatures, which consist of anything below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. On Nov. 29, the temperature in Manhattan dropped to 27 degrees, which put New Yorkers in danger.

While bundling up won’t create an impenetrable shield against catching a cold, it can significantly contribute to one’s overall well-being and health in the winter. 

The parts of your body most vulnerable to frostbite are your extremities (hands, feet, ears, et cetera), which are exactly the parts of your body covered by winter gear such as hats, gloves and thick socks. When temperatures drop even slightly below freezing, then, it is critical that you cover up those extremities with winter gear to keep body heat in and cold air out.

Adopting a warm winter wardrobe provides health benefits beyond simple protection against the immediate dangers of frostbite. Proper winter clothing helps maintain body temperature and alleviates stress on the cardiovascular system. Keeping warm helps blood vessels dilate, which assists healthy blood circulation and reduces the risk of heart-related issues.

On the other end of the spectrum, cold weather can cause muscles to contract. This effect could lead to discomfort and reduced flexibility. Wearing layers and appropriate winter gear provides insulation, keeping muscles and joints warm and flexible for physical activity and, therefore, reducing the potential for injury. 

When muscles are cold and tight, even mild physical activity can cause muscle damage, leading athletes to feel sore just days after the activity. For this reason, it is even more important than usual to warm up in addition to wearing appropriate clothing when exercising in the cold weather. 

Wearing layers becomes essential to regulate body temperature and manage moisture. The base layer should wick away sweat from the body; the middle layer should insulate to retain body heat; and the outer layer should provide protection against wind and precipitation.

While bundling up won’t create an impenetrable shield against catching a cold, it can significantly contribute to one’s overall well-being and health in the winter. 

As we zip up our coats and slip on a pair of gloves, bundling up becomes more than just a precaution against frostbite or a tedious seasonal obligation. In each snuggly wrapped scarf and hat pulled over our ears, our layers become the stitches that weave warmth into our days. 

To spin an old adage, an ounce of insulation is worth more than a pound of shivers.



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About the Contributors
ANA KEVORKIAN, Former Managing Editor
Ana Kevorkian (she/her), FCLC ’24, is the former managing editor at The Fordham Observer. This is her third year with The Observer, having previously served as head copy editor, and she is so excited to serve the organization which has given her so much in this capacity. When she’s not doing Observer-related tasks, you can find her watching movies (see: “Fordham Cinephiles Can Finally Know Peace”), listening to Taylor Swift, reading and wandering the city aimlessly.
QUINCY REYES, Online Editor
Quincy Reyes (he/him), FCLC ’24, is The Observer’s esteemed online editor. He previously served as an assistant copy editor and is currently double-majoring in journalism and film and television with a concentration in television. Born in New York City, raised in Honolulu and schooled in Manila, Quincy has picked up a taste for adventure and a love for storytelling. When he’s not exploring the city with a cup of black tea coconut bubble tea in his hand, you can find him sorting through his collection of funky socks, searching for New York’s best bowl of ramen or screaming at his laptop while watching “Survivor.”

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