Friday, December 6, 2013

Something Interesting About Winter Sickness

So it's a common perception that when it's cold outside, especially during the winter months, that people are more prone to get sick than in the summer months.  We've all heard this.  We are always told to "bundle up" because if we don't, we could get sick.  However, did you know that it really doesn't matter how much we bundle up, it's really not the cold weather that makes us sick?  Here's why.  

The flu and common cold are caused by viruses.  People get sick more often in the winter because they are exposed to each other more in the winter than in the summer.  When it's cold outside, people tend to stay inside and are more likely to spread germs to one another.  Also, because school is in session, kids are around each other all day and are not afraid to share their germs.  With so many people in such close contact, the likelihood of passing germs is much higher when it is cold outside than when it is warm and people are outdoors.  There is also evidence now that viruses spread more easily through dry air.  When it is cold outside, the air is drier both outdoors and inside (where people have their heaters on) which may make it easier for germs to pass from one person to another.  But it is not the cold weather that causes the cold, it just might make it easier to spread the virus.

In tropical areas, where it does not get cold, the common cold and flu season generally occurs during the rainy season.  But again, these illnesses are not caused by the rain.  They are just more prevalent because people come in closer contact with each other than they do during the dry season.

So there is a little bit of information that I found interesting.  It's something that actually makes sense, but goes against almost everything that we were taught as kids on why and how we get sick during the winter months.

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