Cold, Flu & Old Man Winter: Why we get sick when the weather changes!

The Love Triangle

What a rendezvous! …….this relationship between Old man Winter, Cold & Flu!

cold_fluEvery year, at the turn of the season, it happens … Just like clockwork!  First, Old man Winter shows up. Then Cold & Flu, simultaneously rush in to vie for his attention. Being so ruthless, they heartlessly run anyone who stands in their way, as they work to make their presence known. You would think that we would know to steer clear by now, wouldn’t you? Yet somehow, every passing year without fail, more and more people get ‘knocked down’, and the vicious cycle continues……

Reality Check!

There’s no denying that whenever the weather changes, many people get sick. Sometimes with the common cold, and other times, with the flu! Now, as satisfying as it would be to blame it on the weather, I have to apologetically ‘burst your bubble’  here as I say….”Blame it on the germs”! Weather changes alone do NOT make you sick!  However, there are factors related to weather changes that can contribute to making you sick.

The common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses. This means that you would have to come in contact with a relevant virus in order to catch a cold or get the flu!

Real Talk

Point #1: One of the primary reasons that people get sick more often in the winter is because of ‘huddling’, pure and simple!

It is in our innate human nature to stay indoors when it is cold outside. Now, that’s all well and good, but we do need to understand that when we ‘huddle’, we share space, air and touch. Our close contact with one another, greatly increases the likelihood of passing germs (including viruses) from one person to another……just like the children’s game …….”Tag, you’re It”!  Interestingly, school aged children are most susceptible to ‘bringing home’ the cold and flu viruses and ‘sharing the love’ with the rest of the family!

Point #2: Let’s not forget that when it is cold outside, people typically have their heaters on indoors. This causes the air to become dry and ultimately acts as an excellent conduit for the transfer of viruses from one person to another.

Point #3: It goes without saying, that if the air supply ducts to our homes are dirty, we will breathe in ‘dirty’ microbe infected air which will ultimately make us sick. In the winter time, we are more susceptible to becoming sick, because we tend to be indoors more. A quick fix for that – Get your air supply ducts cleaned regularly!

Point #4: When temperatures are low, the cold air causes the blood vessels in our nose to be become narrow or constricted thereby restricting blood flow and subsequently minimizing the amount of infection fighting white blood cells that would otherwise be present. What this means is that ultimately, our immune systems are not strong enough to fight off ‘intruders’ like the Rhinovirus. In the end, we get sick!

The Bottom Line

Cold weather does not give you the cold or flu! ……it just makes it easier for the viruses that actually cause these illnesses to spread!

Let’s Fantasize

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could once again actually predict drastic weather changes? Maybe then we could do a better job of protecting ourselves from potential sickness. Once upon a time, 75 degrees Fahrenheit actually referred to a beautiful summer day…., not a random day in the ‘heart’ of winter!

And once upon a time, 75°F in the winter time was a fairy tale… Well, thanks to global warming, we now live in a world where fairy tale meets reality!

Current Affairs

Here in the Washington D.C Metropolitan area of the United States (at least), we cannot really predict whether one or two layers of apparel will suffice for the day! In essence, we either find ourselves over-dressed, under-dressed or just plain confused! No wonder we end up sick!

Keeping it Real!

We may not be able to beat ‘Cold & Flu’ to their game, but we can definitely protect ourselves the best way we know how. When temperatures drop, let’s actively boost our own immune systems!

Armed & Dangerous

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water;
  • Increase you Vitamin C intake per guidance from your doctor.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables
  • Catch up on your Zzzz!

More power to you!

The entire team at Triangle Legacy wishes you a safe and healthy Cold & Flu Season, because we care!