The important thing, to avoid getting sick, is to keep your feet warm... how many times have you heard this phrase? According to tradition, in fact, having wet or cold feet can increase the risk of getting colds, sore throats and coughs. But is it just a baseless belief? The answer to the question is no, it's not just a belief and scientific studies indicate that our grandmothers were right when they asked us to keep our feet warm and dry. Today we are talking about precisely this, based on the results of research published in the journal Family Practice by a team from Cardiff University (Johnson et al, Fam Pract, 2005).
Cold feet lower defenses
Previous studies had already tried to investigate the belief that warm feet keep colds, coughs and sore throats away. The results obtained up to this point had allowed us to observe a reaction to the cooling of the body surface at the level of the nasal mucosa. In particular, vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the nose and a lowering of the mucosal temperature were observed. The hypothesis is that this causes a lowering of the natural defenses, allowing the viruses, with which we have come into contact and which perhaps were present in the nose asymptomatically, to gain the upper hand and become symptomatic, with typical signs such as sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat and cough. This is just a hypothesis which however is confirmed thanks to the most recent study we are talking about today.
Cold feet and colds, the link exists
Scientists recruited 180 people, all healthy and without signs of a cold. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to remove their shoes and socks and place their feet in a basin full of cold water, kept at a temperature of 10° C, for 20 minutes. The second group was used as a control. Study participants had to report any symptoms suggestive of a cold. After 4-5 days it emerged that 15% of those whose feet had been cooled had a cold compared to 5% of the control group. Not only that, among all those who had developed a cold, those belonging to the group whose feet had been cooled had more severe symptoms than the control group.
The study shows that tradition and grandmothers were right to recommend keeping your feet warm. Of course, warm and dry feet alone are not enough to fight every cold or flu but they certainly help and allow you to face every threat in the best conditions.