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Posted at 8:08 AM ET, 01/31/2011

Will Ice Cream Guy catch a cold?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

I'm clearly not the only one who worried about Zack Burroughs after seeing the now-famous photo of the young lawyer dashing through last week's blizzard -- carrying an ice cream cone but not wearing a coat, hat or gloves.

Ice cream cone guy

Here, for example, is the first question in The Washington Post's live, online chat with Burroughs last Friday afternoon:

YOUR MOTHER I have a two parter: I hate to sound like your mother, but where are you gloves, coat and hat? And has your mom seen this and scolded you?

I am so much my mother's daughter that my first thought upon seeing that picture was that Mr. Burroughs was bound to catch cold.

But then the health-blogging, more rational, less superstitious me woke up and remembered that of course colds are caused by cold viruses -- of which hundreds are known to exist -- transmitted via your germy hands to your eyes, nose or mouth. Being very cold for very long periods can impair your immune system and make you more susceptible to those cold viruses, but that's clearly not an issue for Burroughs.

Here are a couple of Web sites devoted to explaining the common cold. And here's what the CDC has to say. In short, wash your hands thoroughly and often, keep them away from your face, and keep your distance from people who already are sick.

So if Burroughs should come down with a cold -- and I sincerely hope he will not -- it will because he got himself into some germs, not because he dashed out in a snowstorm to get ice cream.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | January 31, 2011; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health, Influenza, Life's Big Questions, Parenting  
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My mother would say, "Put something on! You're making me cold!!!" Didn't matter that I wasn't the least bit cold.

Posted by: pflugrad-dpf | January 31, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

For a medical news reporter, sometimes I'm amazed at how little research you do. You can't expect WebMD, The Mayo Clinic and the CDC to keep up to date with 6 year old research. Please check:

Johnson C and Eccles R. "Acute cooling of the feet and the onset of common cold symptoms." Family Practice 2005; 22: 608–613.

Posted by: ogs123 | January 31, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

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