Cough, cough, cough. Sick? Join the club. The flu shot sucked this year, so more people are getting sick than usual. Lots of know-it-alls tell me that the reason so many people get the flu in the winter is because it’s cold outside, and the cold makes you get sick. That’s false, you smarty-pants kids.

U.S. researchers have come up with a new idea of why the flu runs rampant during the cold months. As my non-science brain understands it, the flu virus is coated in a fatty material that gets hard in the cold and thus protects the flu virus when it gets outside your body. This means when you sneeze on the handle on a shopping cart, the flu virus can hang out there for a while in the cold before it dies. Once the next customer grabs on to the cart, he has the flu virus on his hands. Then he steals a baby carrot and puts it in his mouth, but little does he know it is garnished with some flu virus. That hardened fatty coating melts when it hits the heat of his lungs. The virus is then free to infect his cells.

Yummy, huh? Preventing the flu is easy; the advice that the Center for Disease Control Web site gives is pretty much the same stuff your mom told you when you were little – wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you cough, and stay the heck away from your sick friends. Already sick? Stay inside and play some bloons!