Why Do Weather Changes Make Us Feel Under The Weather?

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Why Do Weather Changes Make Us Feel Under The Weather?

Last updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 3 min reading time

Weather changes can affect your immune health. How can we prevent ourselves from falling sick when holidaying in a different climate?

It’s coming up to the winter holiday season. If you are planning to holiday in a colder climate, you may worry that being exposed to the sudden change in temperature puts you at a greater risk of falling sick.

The good news is that this is not true.

Sudden exposure to colder weather does not make you sick in itself. You need to be exposed to bacteria or viruses for this to happen. The bad news is that the change in humidity can weaken your immune system, make you more susceptible to germs and viruses you may encounter, and increase the likelihood of you getting sick.

Why is this so?

You’ve probably experienced how your skin tends to be drier in colder climates. Your eyes, lungs and the mucous membranes in your nose also dry out in a low-humidity environment and this lowers your defence to bacteria and viruses. Also, viruses tend to survive and multiply more easily in colder temperatures, further increasing your risk of falling sick.

Adding insult to injury, the cold temperature also breaks down the particles we expel from our nose and mouth whenever we cough or sneeze, making it easier for others to inevitably inhale. This makes it easier to spread a virus from one person to another. Conversely, in areas with higher humidity, these particles stay larger, reducing the probability of infection.

What causes a weakened immune system in colder climates?

Weakened immune system
In colder weather, your immune system is likely to weaken due to:

How to lower your risk of falling sick

Some ways to avoid getting sick while on holiday this winter include:

What are some differences between a cold and a flu?

Difference between cold and flu

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever rare common
Chills rare common
Aches slight common
Sneezing common occasional
Sore throat common occasional
Stuffy nose common occasional
Cough mild to moderate common
Headache rare common

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)

When to see a doctor

Bacteria and viruses cause colds and the flu, not the weather. However, exposure to cold weather can increase your risk of catching a virus, which spread more effectively in cold weather. The decreased humidity also reduces your immune response, making it harder for your body to fight off germs and viruses when you are exposed to them.

If you get sick, don’t ruin your holiday by suffering through. Seek medical attention at the nearest clinic or Urgent Care Centre​ (UCC) to alleviate your symptoms.

What's the link between cold weather and the common cold? Retrieved on 29/08/19 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323431.php

Can the Change in Temperature Really Make You Sick? Retrieved on 29/08/19 from https://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/cold-flu/can-change-in-temperature-really-make-sick.htm

Can the changing temperatures make you sick? Retrieved on 29/08/19 from https://abc13.com/health/can-the-changing-temperatures-make-you-sick/4688773/

Cold Versus Flu. Retrieved on 29/08/19 from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm

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