Does a change in temperature cause illness?

Does a change in temperature cause illness? The short answer is no, but extended periods of cold may.

On Sunday, the high was 60 degrees, then on Monday temperatures fall into the30s. It sounds like a normal "back to work" weather pattern, right? While temperature swings are not a surprise to Central New Yorkers, does it affect your health? In a fairly, unscientific study I conducted around the station, people seemed split about whether or not a sharp, sudden change in temperature causes illness.

"Oh yeah, I think so, you always get that scratchy throat," said Alice Maggiore, WSTMâ??s 6 p.m. producer.

Meanwhile, our Interactive Managing Editor Maren Guse felt differently. "Probably not, but it often feels like it."

So, is this purely mental? Or is there some actual medical reasoning to back up our claim?

Dr. K. Bruce Simmons of SUNY Upstate explained it for me.

"The short answer is no, to that question. There really is no good evidence that a quick change in temperature influences illness," says Dr. Bruce Simmons.

A quick swing in temperature wonâ??t cause illness; however, Dr. Simmons says colder temperatures still play a role in illness.

"Well I think certainly as it gets colder we will see more illness. I think survival of viruses in colder, drier environments is one factor. And the other factor certainly is change in the mucous membranes; dryness, susceptibility go together," says Dr. Simmons.

Cold viruses can live on surfaces for several hours after an infected individual has touched them. Dr. Simmons urges people to wash their hands vigilantly, and be mindful of how they act around others who are ill.