Why Do People Get Sicker During the Winter?

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Do you ever wonder why people tend to get sick in the colder months? It’s not because cold weather makes you sick, it’s because several factors create the perfect storm for disease transmission. But cold itself doesn’t make you sick.

Dry Weather

As the temperature drops, so does the humidity. We also turn on indoor heaters and radiators which further dries up the air around us. The inside of our noses and sinuses also dry out and this creates the perfect environment for cold viruses, aka rhinoviruses, to attach and infect our respiratory cells. Cold weather also changes the outer structure of flu viruses, making them more infectious. This is why flu season is always in the wintertime!

Staying Indoors

Nothing spreads disease quite like being stuck indoors with a bunch of other people, breathing the same air. We know this from the coronavirus pandemic. Many outbreaks started because people were indoors at a bar with no facemask on or attending a house party. When it’s cold out, we hunker down inside; even if there’s only one sick person in the room, their germs can easily circulate and infect others.

What Can You Do?

There are several ways you can stay healthy during the winter months. First, a humidifier in the house will help cut down on the dryness. It’ll keep your sinuses moist, especially at night when the heater is on full blast. Second, make sure to get your flu shot. This vaccine protects you against the most deadly strains that season. This doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu, it just means that if you do, whatever strain you get won’t kill you. Finally, keep fresh air flowing as much as possible. This can mean cracking a window or just getting out and walking around more often.

Taking Care of Your Body

Make sure to drink lots of fluid and eat a well-balanced diet. There’s not much you can do to prevent viruses from getting into your body. But if you’re sick, your chances of a quick, easy recovery are higher if you’re already healthy and exercising. With all the heaters and dry air, your body loses water much faster, so stay hydrated to keep it functioning at optimal levels.

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