It seems as though with the changing of seasons from summer to fall, more and more people come down with colds or viruses than any other time of year. But why is this? Some people assume that the cold weather causes our bodies to become more susceptible to infection. However, there is no scientific evidence to support that notion. As it turns out, the cold weather doesn’t necessarily cause you to get sick, but the germs that thrive in these temperatures can be a root cause of the issue.
You can catch a cold or come down with the flu any time of the year, but research suggests that cold, dry weather provides optimal conditions for germs to survive and spread more easily. This is why flu season typically runs from October to March, with cases typically decreasing as the warmer weather starts to hit.
Although the colder months may be more preferable by the germs that are causing you to get sick, there may be other reasons that you are feeling under the weather.
When it’s cold out, you’re more likely to be spending your time cozying up indoors rather than soaking up the sun. And while no one wants to spend their time outside in the freezing cold, staying inside all day long can cause other issues. For instance, you won’t be getting as much natural vitamin D intake as you do during the warmer months, which can affect your immune responses.
There’s also evidence that exposure to cold temperatures suppresses the immune system, although cold weather does not explicitly cause you to get sick. However, researchers have determined that there is a connection between the cold and contracting the common cold. Essentially, cold noses can reduce the immune response in the nasal passages, and increase your risk of infection.
The fall and winter months bring cooler temperatures and snow days, but they also are home to some of the biggest holidays of the year. This means that people are traveling more than they do at other times, and simultaneously increasing the spread of germs, particularly in airports, trains, and other modes of transportation.
The best way to prevent the common cold and other illnesses is to preemptively amp up your hygiene and boost your immune system to better fend of viruses and other foreign invaders from your body.
Here are a few steps you can take to make it through the colder months without contracting an infection:
Additionally, there are ways that you can enhance your recovery time if you’re already sick. Giving your body more time to rest than usual, as well as implementing natural remedies like drinking herbal tea or inhaling essential oils to help clear sinus congestion can make your symptoms more manageable.
Most people recover on their own from a cold or the flu, but other issues like bronchitis or pneumonia may arise and need additional treatment. If you notice that you have an abnormally high fever or symptoms lasting more than 2 weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.