Does Weather Affect The Spread of Sickness?

Does Weather Affect The Spread of Sickness?image preview

Have you been battling the flu or the common cold this winter? You’re not alone. The weather, yes, weather, could be to blame. Here are a few ways weather and germs might be teaming up to make you sick.

Viruses Like it Cool

There’s a reason why fall and winter are known as “cold and flu” seasons: germs simply like lower temperatures. According to research, it’s easier for certain viruses (including influenza and the rhinovirus—the strain responsible for most common colds) to multiply whenever the air is 5-10 degrees cooler than body temperature (98.6°F). Needless to say, fall and winter’s chilly days provide the perfect conditions.

Factor in the additional hours spent indoors, in close quarters with family, friends, and their germs, and you’ve got a recipe for wellness disaster.

Cool Air = Lazy Immune Systems

While viruses thrive in cooler weather, cold can actually weaken the body’s immune response.

One reason for this immunity slump is a lack of vitamin D—an immune-boosting vitamin that the body has less of during winter as a result of less sun exposure.

With less power to fight off germs, it means we’re left more susceptible to them.

Low Humidity Factors

How humid, or “wet” the air is can also play a role in how well the body fights off viral invaders. The lower the humidity, the less effective the body’s cilia (hair-like soldiers found in the nose and lungs) are at sweeping out viral particles. (Humidity lower than 40% is typically considered to be “dry” air.)

Spring and Fall Trigger Allergies, But That’s Not All…

Spring’s warm weather is ideal for waking up dormant trees and flowers, while its lion-like winds are notorious for whirling this pollen right up your nose, into your eyes, and into your mouth. Six months later, autumn’s dim sunlight and damp, rainy conditions cook up all types of mold allergens. But these seasons don’t stop at triggering your allergies. As any allergy sufferer can attest to, once your immune system is under attack from such irritants, it’s only a matter of time before a cold or the flu seizes the opportunity to hit you while you’re already down.

Handwashing is a key factor in slowing the spread of germs.

So What Can You Do?

Wash your hands. Because viruses can live on human skin for at least two hours, it’s important to keep hands clean. Use those alcohol wipes at the supermarket for surfaces and handles you touch. Here’s the proper way to wash your hands.

Take the D! Our levels of vitamin D dip in the wintertime. Supplements are important this time of year.

Adopt/Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle. Having a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick. A moderate level of exercise, good sleep patterns, going smoke-free, reduced stress, and eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and immunity-boosting foods can all help you “weather” the storm against sickness, year-round.

Tiffany Means is a freelance writer and a degreed meteorologist. She specializes in weather forecasting and enjoys making the subject of weather (and the science behind it) more relatable. She currently resides in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her article, Animals with Accidental Green Thumbs appears in the 2021 Farmers' Almanac.

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Yvonne Mills
Yvonne Mills
10 months ago

Thanks this was very informative you helped me educate myself today this is a very good topic I’ve thought about this in the past! And now I understand it much better! And I will prepare myself ahead of time much more before these seasons come and change throughout the year. I appreciate your help take care.

sean Antill
sean Antill
10 months ago

I’m all for taking vitamins and supplements to bust your immune system….BUT!!! hand sanitizers and the like are not your friend. What happened to the more you mingle the more your body learns to defend itself. Now day’s we just simply slather ourselves in chemicals designed to “supposed ” to cure everything and all’s it really does weaken the body’s ability to defend itself. Hand sanitizer is ok for the occasional camping trip when fresh water isn’t available after doing your business, But was never intended for every day everywhere every time you walk in and out of everywhere .
It’s barely even a decent coal extender for fire starting, that right there should tell just what little worth it really has.

Yvonne Mills
Yvonne Mills
10 months ago
Reply to  sean Antill

They over kill!!! With lots of CHEMICALS. IN OUR AIR, WATER AND FOOD ALONG WITH OTHER THINGS WE USE!!! Its not safe out there.We need to learn how to keep as many chemicals from entering our body and externally too! These. Harmful CHEMICALS are causing sicknesses and diseases to Humanity.
As we are learning that they are Purposely Sabotageing party much of our World for Humanity and getting away with it and as they have admitted to us all!!! Checkout A – Z Quotes.com
And read for yourself what they have said and done. This is Our Beautiful World that was given to all Humanity !!!!
And we the people must take OUR World and planet Earth back for our future lifes and generations to come. Thanks Sean Antill! I do agree with you as long as they’re Organic and non-GMO’s Vitamins and Supplements. I also agree with you on behalf of bad news on hand Sanitizers I have read quite a bit on this topic. They are not our friend for sure! Oooh sooo true so many of us slather ourselves in chemicals!!! We need to Wake up People and learn how to keep as much harmful chemicals off ourselves and from inside too, to live a long and healthy and happier lives as much as we can. Take care humanity ✨