How do you avoid getting sick when the weather changes?

An expert explains how seasonal weather changes affect our health and How do you avoid getting sick when the weather changes? It’s the same every year as the calendar goes from autumn to winter. Strong winds kick in, temperatures drop, and suddenly you’re surrounded by sneezing and coughing. Cold air comes first, then cold.

While it may seem like the transition from hot to cold each year can lead to illness, it helps to know how and why it can happen and what we can do to prevent it. We spoke with family medicine specialist Neha Vyas, MD, to get some answers.

How does the weather affect your health?


First, it’s important to make a distinction: Dr. “A change in temperature doesn’t make you sick, but changes in weather can predispose you to get sick,” says Vyas. And there are three main factors that fuel the increased disease rates during these weather changes.

  • Dryer air: “Winter means colder, drier air that dries out your mucous membranes and allows viruses to enter your body faster,” says Dr. Vyas. “Fissures in the mucous membranes can allow these viruses to settle and reach your body.”
  • Cold: “When the weather gets colder, it weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to infections,” she says.
  • Exposure: Besides exposure to cold weather, there is exposure to other sick people. With the colder temperatures in winter, we’re indoors for longer periods of time with more people, which gives viruses plenty of feeding ground. Dr. “There are more germs indoors and the ventilation is not as good as being outdoors,” Vyas says, “so viruses spread more easily when you are with more people.”

Winter is also the peak season for certain viruses, particularly flu, which cannot survive the warmer months.

Seasonal allergies


While allergies are a year-round problem for many, seasonal allergies that appear in the fall when temperatures first drop can cause lasting problems for many. Ragweed is the most common fall allergen, but other weeds such as wormwood and sage can also produce pollen that triggers allergies in cold weather.

Again, it’s not the drop in temperature that directly causes you to get sick. But certain conditions that arise when the temperature drops definitely make you more vulnerable.

How do you avoid getting sick when the weather changes?


While you can never completely prevent yourself from getting sick, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and reduce your chances of getting sick.

Wear a mask

A habit that has taken root during the pandemic and can be of great benefit in the future is masking. While wearing a mask as a preventative measure has become regular in the US due to COVID-19, it was a regular flu season practice in other parts of the world long before the pandemic.

Dr. “It’s a great idea to wear a mask indoors, especially when around a group of people whose immunity or vaccination status is unknown,” says Vyas.

Stay warm

Another helpful habit is to keep you warm, especially when doing outdoor activities. “We lose a lot of heat from our head, fingers, toes, ears, nose, and mouth, so these are the places you want to keep closed to maintain warmth and protect your body’s immune system,” she says.

Dehydration

The need to stay hydrated properly is as important to your health in cold weather as it is in hot weather. Dr. “You may not notice that the air is drier and you may not feel thirsty, but it’s important to maintain proper hydration,” says Vyas.

The role of nutrition

The same goes for a balanced diet, she says. “Fresh fruits, vegetables, and a Mediterranean diet can go a long way toward making you feel and stay healthy.”

As for the idea that vitamin C intake can help you stay healthy, Dr. Vyas points out that the data doesn’t really support this claim, but it doesn’t hurt you.

Other good habits

Here is Dr. Here are four other things Vyas recommends to be part of your routine for staying healthy when the cold weather hits the city:

  • Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
  • Always do your annual physical exam.
  • sleep a lot.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Taking these precautions will help protect you and your family from getting sick and getting stuck in a constant loop, like getting around a cold or flu virus for weeks at a time. They may not destroy the cold weather, but at least you’ll be healthier while you wait for the warmer climate of spring.

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