Have you noticed that more people get sick with the flu and other viruses during the winter than in other seasons? This is no accident. According to the CDC, while viruses like the flu are present year-round, they peak between December and February.
Why does this happen, though? Our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team provides some helpful answers below, so keep reading!
What Causes a Surge in Virus Infections During the Winter?
The chilly temperature is one of the most common explanations for the increase in viral cases. While cold weather does not produce more viruses, it does make it more difficult for our bodies to fight off viruses and other illnesses because cold weather impairs our capacity to eliminate mucus from our noses, allowing a virus to enter the body.
Viruses are more likely to cause damage in the winter, as we’ve outlined a few more reasons below.
Other 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 climates. The flu and COVID-19 viruses 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.
How Can I Stay Healthy This Winter?
There are several things you can do to stay healthy this winter, but the best defense plan involves getting vaccinated. The flu and COVID-19 are the two illnesses that provide the biggest threats to our health right now, and, thankfully, vaccines exist for both to lower both your risk of getting them and your risk of getting severely ill if you do get them.
Below are some additional ways you can improve your chances of remaining healthy.
Additional Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter
- Put on 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 those who are sick.
We encourage you to take the necessary steps in protecting yourself and others from getting sick this winter! If you do feel under the weather, visit us today.