Yes, it does. In fact, according to the CDC, viruses like the flu reach their peak between December and February.
Why does this happen, though? Does the chilly weather have something to do with it? Read on for some helpful answers from our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team!
Does Cold Weather Have an Impact on Viral Activity?
It certainly does. While cold weather does not cause you to catch a virus, it does provide a more conducive habitat for illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. According to scientists, both the flu and the coronavirus are enveloped viruses, which means they have an external fatty or lipid membrane that protects the virus’ structural integrity while also allowing it to reproduce and generate new infections.
Under frigid temperatures, this barrier hardens, making it easier for the virus to survive and spread from person to person. A few other reasons why cold weather can cause an upsurge in viral infections are listed below.
Additional Causes of More Winter Viral Activity
- Spending more time indoors. During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows shut, making them more likely to breathe the same air as an infectious person.
- Colder, drier air. The flu and COVID-19 may be able to infect more people in colder, drier settings because they can survive longer.
- Less sunlight and shorter days. We acquire less vitamin D and melatonin when we get less sunlight, which are both important in battling viruses and illnesses.
What Can I Do This Winter to Avoid Catching a Virus?
While it’s not possible to completely avoid falling ill with a virus this winter, there are a number of methods you can use to reduce your risk, which we’ve outlined in the section below.
While these methods can lower your risk, vaccination is the most effective technique. The flu and COVID-19 are the two most hazardous illnesses currently circulating, and vaccinations are available to combat them. Please consider being vaccinated if you haven’t already.
Additional Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter
- Wear a mask. Masks are a simple way to protect yourself and others from the virus by preventing respiratory droplets from spreading.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Frequent handwashing helps protect against a variety of illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are less likely to enter your body if you keep your hands away from your face.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- Don’t share personal items.
We hope you stay healthy this winter! If you need non-emergency medical care, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC center today.