Have you gotten a virus during the winter before? If so, you’re certainly not alone.
Viral activity is much more common during the winter months, even though viruses exist year-round. Why is this is the case, though?
Our AFC Urgent Care Ooltewah team provides some helpful information below, so keep reading!
Is Viral Activity Affected by Cold Weather?
Yes, it is. While cold weather doesn’t make you sick, it does provide a more comfortable habitat for illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 to thrive. According to experts, 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 cause new infections.
When exposed to freezing temperatures, this membrane hardens, making it easier for the virus to live and spread. Below are a few other reasons why chilly weather can aggravate viral infections.
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 to Reduce My Virus Risk?
There are several practical techniques for staying healthy and infection-free, and adhering to these measures is more important than ever in the era of COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated against specific viruses, in addition to the techniques we’ve described below, is likely your best line of defense. Receiving the COVID-19 and flu vaccines lowers your risk of acquiring the illness in the first place, and it also lowers your risk of becoming seriously ill if you do get it.
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.
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