Change In Weather Doesn’t Have To Make You Sick — Experts

A  post that went viral has attributed the persistent cold to what is called the aphelion phenomenon. In fact, it is reported to be colder than the previous cold season, with an attendant increase in cases of flu, cough and shortness of breath.

Although anyone can get a cold, and most people will experience many colds in their lifetime, some factors like the cold season can increase the risk of getting sick.

One may feel irritable, lose appetite or be unusually tired. But colder temperatures may make individuals likely to get sick; it is not just because the weather is cooler; viruses can live longer in colder temperatures.

Dr Chiaka Irabor, a family medicine physician at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said the constant colder temperatures that many assume to be a challenge to their health, is in fact ideal because the ideal room temperature is about 25°C and individuals can work more at cooler temperatures without sweating or getting tired easily.

She stated that cold temperature may be relative, depending on an individual’s geographical location, body fat and mode of dressing.

“When you wear clothes that don’t need you to lose heat, you feel cold because the weather does not require you to lose heat. So, it is a question of dressing appropriately.

Even sitting in one place and wearing something thick is not going to make you hot. What creates heat is activity,” she stated.

Dr Irabor said although viruses can live longer in colder temperatures, individuals only contract them when they congregate indoors in poorly ventilated rooms or rooms with windows closed because individuals don’t want to get cold due to cold weather.

“If someone comes into such a room and sneezes or coughs, all the expelled germs will remain hanging in the air. That is what makes people fall sick; not that the weather is cold at this particular time.

Poor ventilation is an issue because they are closing everywhere, thereby increasing contact with disease-causing germs and infecting more people,” she added.

When a virus first comes in contact with the body — specifically, the nose or throat — it multiplies to cause an infection. When the body temperature drops, as it does in cold weather, viruses have an easier time multiplying.

Rhinoviruses, influenza and other cold viruses can survive up to 7 days on indoor surfaces, countertops, or doorknobs. Flu viruses generally can only survive for about 24 hours. All viruses thrive better on hard surfaces — metal or plastic — than on soft fabrics.

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