NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)–It turns out that covering up your face in cold weather could be what your body needs to avoid catching that miserable cold.

“Our research has really shown that the temperature can impact the immune response to the virus,” says Akiko Iwasaki, Professor of Immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine. She is the lead investigator of the latest study linking cool weather conditions to the common cold.

It happens particularly in the nose, where the rhinovirus is better able to replicate.

She explains: “When you inhale the cooler air, you actually cool the airway of the inside of the nose, and this is not what we have evolved to deal with. So the virus has found a nice home to replicate.”

Here’s what happens in the nasal passages in cooler temperatures. The production of the molecules that block the virus from spreading is limited. The infected cells ability to die off are also affected.

“When cells that are infected don’t die, well then, the virus can replicate better and this is what happens at the cooler temperatures.”

And the enzyme- whose job is to break down the virus- is weakened.

“So the virus can replicate without becoming degraded at all. All these pathways are impaired at the cooler temperatures and so you have a lot of virus replication.”

Putting us more at risk of coming down with a cold. To limit exposure, Professor Iwasaki stresses — and you’ve heard it before — wash your hands.

To keep your immune system healthy, he says:

“You can actually warm the nasal cavity or warm your body in order to respond to your virus.”

So wrap that scarf around your nose, or wear a mask and try to limit your time out in the cold.

Basically, Professor Iwasaki says we are more at risk of catching a cold when fall-like temperatures set in, and when we spend more time in crowded conditions.