Staying healthy during colder months

Does the cold weather really mean more sickness and viruses?


You might have heard from an adult or parent in the past to “keep warm” or “put on a coat before you get sick” when leaving the house or heading to school.

Phrases like these make it sound as if the weather is making it easier to catch a virus and harder to stay healthy, but is it really the actual cold weather that creates these problems?

“It seems like we fill more prescriptions for sure, but I don’t think they’re getting sick because its cold outside,” VA Medical Center Pharmacist Jennifer Brown said regarding the amount of people that come in during this season.

“The flu spreads, but people stay inside.”

Does it ever surprise you that once one family member gets sick, the rest usually follow in their path or pick up the illness pretty quickly? Probably not, because according to Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center, you are more likely to catch a cold indoors where its warm and germ-friendly than outside in the actual cold.

In a populated school like Ben Davis, it’s no surprise that catching a virus in one of your classes or even from what drifts through the air around you is a definite possibility. Naturally, the crowded and sometimes stuffy atmosphere makes you more likely to catch something like the common cold.

Staying indoors all the time because of harsh weather, what is provided during the winter months, creates an environment where germs can be spread more quickly amongst a group of people. This could be a cause of the larger amount of illnesses during this time, although most mistake the increase to be caused by the weather itself.

“You don’t get sick from cold; it’s the viruses that are spreading,” Ben Davis clinic nurse Peggy Geoghegan said.

“I don’t see any trends in sickness during winter except occasional flu symptoms. To prevent this you should eat well, sleep well, get plenty of rest and cough or sneeze in your sleeve. This is not just during winter, but all year long.”

Even though it is definitely important to buddle up so you don’t freeze to death during winter, the weather is not necessarily the thing making you sick. Better preventative methods would be to make sure to have your flu vaccines, and to simply wash your hands more often.

Being conscious of the things that cause your illness is important for preventing future health misfortunes and staying healthy through the season altogether.