More people get sick during the winter months, and this is no coincidence. According to the CDC, the flu and other viruses peak between December and February every year.
Why does this happen, though? Our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team provides some helpful answers below, so read on!
What Causes Virus Infections to Increase in the Winter?
One of the most prominent explanations for the rise in viral cases is the cold weather. While cold weather does not increase the number of viruses, it does make it more difficult for our bodies to fight off viruses and other illnesses because cold weather reduces our ability to expel mucus from our noses, allowing a virus to enter the body.
Viruses are more likely to cause harm in the winter for a variety of reasons, which we’ve listed here.
Other Reasons for Increased Winter Viral Activity
- Increasing the amount of time spent indoors. People spend more time indoors with the windows shut during the winter, making them more likely to breathe the same air as an infectious individual.
- Colder, drier climates. Because the flu and COVID-19 viruses may survive longer in colder, drier environments, they may be able to infect more people.
- Shorter days and less sunlight. When we don’t get enough sunlight, we produce less vitamin D and melatonin, which are both vital in fighting viruses.
What Can I Do to Stay Healthy During the Winter?
There are various things you can do to keep healthy this winter, but being vaccinated is the greatest defense. The flu and COVID-19 are the two illnesses that are currently posing the greatest threat to our health, and vaccines exist for both to reduce your risk of contracting them as well as your risk of being extremely ill if you do.
Additional techniques to boost your chances of staying healthy are included below.
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 hope you and your loved ones stay healthy this winter! If any of you begin to feel under the weather, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC center to get necessary treatment.