Not only can pollen spark miserable seasonal symptoms, but also allergies leave individuals more likely to catch a cold virus because their immune system is already under attack. Unfortunately, supplements such as echinacea, vitamins E and C and zinc have not been shown to help prevent the common cold in double-blind clinical trials, the gold standard for scientific research.
To dodge seasonal sickness, follow the same advice all spring that keeps you healthy year-round. While the weather is not directly responsible for making people sick, the viruses that cause colds may spread more easily in lower temperatures, and exposure to cold and dry air may adversely impact the body’s immune system.
The temperature inside the nasal cavity is approximately 33 °C (91.4 °F), which may make it an ideal breeding ground for rhinoviruses. Most research on rhinoviruses has primarily focused on examining how differences in body temperature affect the virus’s ability to reproduce.
However, more recent research is focusing on environmental factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing a rhinovirus infection. One study examined whether variations in temperatures and humidity led to a higher risk of rhinovirus infection.
The researchers found that decreases in both temperature and humidity over a 3-day period increased the risk of rhinovirus infections in participants. Influenza viruses, which cause the flu, may also survive and spread more easily in cold and dry air.
Many researchers believe that exposure to cold weather can adversely affect a person’s immune response, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. Breathing in cold and dry air causes the blood vessels in the upper respiratory tract to narrow to conserve heat.
Research suggests that these viruses may survive and reproduce more effectively at colder temperatures, making it easier for them to spread and infect more people. Cold weather may also reduce the immune response and make it harder for the body to fight off germs.
This is why we bundle up in warm clothes before facing the elements: We want to protect ourselves against frigid weather because we don’t want to catch colds. “When the weather turns cold,” she says, “we all run indoors, where air is recycled, and we’re often in close quarters with other people and viruses.
The strength of our own immune system also plays a big part in how susceptible we are to colds, and how severe they might be. “The extremes are the young babies, the older adults, those with underlying medical conditions,” explains Segal-Maurer.
When a storm hits, it causes a drop in atmospheric pressure, which can lead to symptoms such as migraines. Your body learns to function in a certain pressure, and when that changes, it can wreak havoc on your system.
Cold weather means more indoor activities, and when people are cooped up inside rooms together with the windows closed, germs are more likely to spread. People don’t get as much fresh air as they do in warmer weather, and they may not be as apt to exercise in the cold.
Meanwhile, hot weather means more outdoor activities, which can cause allergies to flare. Cold weather means more indoor activities, and when people are cooped up inside rooms together with the windows closed, germs are more likely to spread.
Oysters shellfish all bran cereals helps the body make more T-cells which fight infection Exercise lowers stress levels that make people vulnerable to viruses, and it may increase the circulation of cells needed to fight infection.
And in all temperatures, washing your hands frequently can prevent the spread of the bacteria that causes illness in the first place. Nutrition, exercise and hygiene can boost the immune system while the weather changes.
Winter is coming early too much of the United States this year, with freezing temps arriving this week. A strong arctic cold front is sweeping across the United States this week, with some areas in the Midwest already experiencing record-breaking temperatures for this time of year.
As the temperatures hover in the single digits, it’s natural to suspect the risk of contracting the common cold or flu is more pertinent than ever. When temperatures quickly plummet and take humidity levels down with it, viruses tend to get stronger, and our immune system can take a hit.
Researchers found that colder temperatures and drier air increased people’s risk for rhinovirus infections. When our body temperature drops, as it does in cold weather, viruses have an easier time multiplying.
In addition, colder temperatures provide the flu virus with a protective layer, making it firmer and less penetrable, Latter explains. At the same time, drier air impairs our immune system’s ability to fight viruses, according to Dr. David Cutler, a family medicine physician at Providence St. John’s Health Center.
“In addition, the drier air impairs your body’s local immune reaction to the arrival of the virus. Some have theorized that freezing will cause constriction of blood vessels, which further impairs the local immune response,” Cutler said.
While cold weather itself doesn’t cause colds or the flu, viruses survive longer and spread faster in lower temperatures. Health experts recommend focusing on preventing infections as the cold weather strikes.
The odds of catching the common cold or influenza are highest during the fall and winter. It can, however, set the stage for certain factors that decrease your immunity and increase opportunities to catch a cold or the flu.
Important / Getty Images There is some evidence to suggest that viruses spread more easily through cold, dry air. When it is cold outside, the air is drier both outdoors and inside (due to heating), drying out mucous membranes and making it easier for germs to take hold.
The study, which involved 892 men in the Finnish military, also suggests that breathing cold air may contribute to the spread of infection into the lungs. This is based on earlier research that found lung temperature can be lowered by inhaling cold air.
However, researchers also noted that the risk of rhinovirus infection is reduced at subfreezing temperatures and higher humidity. This is likely due to people spending more time indoors when it's raining, putting them in closer contact with others than during the dry season.
The influenza virus responsible for the seasonal flu spreads across the United States from October to April.Rhinovirus has more than 150 different circulating strains at any given time and accounts for more than half of all colds each year. Various strains of coronavirus, retrovirus, para influenza, and respiratory synovial virus (RSV) can cause different degrees of congestion, fever, cough, and body aches.
People may also be more prone to catching a cold or flu in the winter due to lower immunity. Fewer daylight hours and less time spend outside mean less exposure to sunlight, which the body uses to make vitamin D.
It improves circulation, allowing white blood cells to detect and fight an infection faster. It increases body temperature during and right after a workout, which may work like a fever to prevent bacteria from growing.
The most important thing to remember during cold and flu season is to protect yourself against these germs when you are around other people. You can also protect yourself against illness by getting your yearly flu vaccine, avoiding people who you know are sick, and taking care of your body by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep at night.