Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by Michelle Simmons
People are more vulnerable to getting sick when seasons change, especially during spring and fall, and experts may now know why. According to research, it’s not the cold air that makes people sick; rather, it’s the virus. Rhinoviruses and coronaviruses, the two main causes of the common cold, can multiply quickly when the weather is cool – but not too cold.
“A lot of the viruses that cause the common cold are shown to cause outbreaks more frequently in the early to late spring and early to late fall,” explained Dr. Kittu Jindal Garg, an internal medicine specialist, in an interview with The Weather Channel.
In the same way, the influenza virus multiplies and spread more easily and rapidly when the air is cold and dry. As a result, people tend to catch the flu during winter. Meanwhile, a study from Yale University also suggested that the common cold replicates in cooler temperatures. Researchers of the study discovered that a seven-degree drop in ambient temperature could interrupt the body’s ability to stop cold viruses from multiplying.
Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine, explained that when they reduced the temperatures from 37 to 33 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees to 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit), the immune response of the body was disrupted, which enabled the viruses to replicate more.
The prevalence of seasonal allergies during the changing seasons is another reason why people tend to get sick whenever the season changes. This is particularly evident during spring and fall. A lot of the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies are parallel to the signs and symptoms that result from colds and flu.
“I see a lot of patients who come in and tell me that they’ve had a cold all spring; they’ve been sick for three months,” Garg said. “Really they don’t have a cold at all, but more so their allergies are flaring up.”
During summer, illnesses come from a combination of several factors. People with seasonal allergies may experience a congested feeling and develop runny noses and itches eyes whenever they get near pollen, mold, or grass. Dr. Benjamin Kaplan, an internal medicine physician at Orlando Health in Florida, explained that their immune systems might get overworked as they respond to these allergies, which makes them more susceptible to viral contagions. (Related: Protect yourself from flu season with these natural cold remedies.)
Read more news stories and studies on weather by going to ClimateScienceNews.com.