CAN SUDDEN WEATHER CHANGES MAKE YOU SICK?
Transition between seasons is usually a bumpy ride. This month, some of us will jump from shorts weather to hats-and-mittens weather, and back again!
There's an "old wives' tale" that says sudden weather changes can make us sick. Well, there's some truth to that... but let's clarify!
Bacteria and viruses make us sick, not the weather.
HOWEVER, sudden humidity changes that come with big weather shifts CAN weaken our immune systems, making us more susceptible and increasing the likelihood of sickness.
You've probably noticed that your skin is more dry in the winter, when humidity is lower. Your eyes, lungs, and mucus membranes are drier too, lowering your defenses to bacteria and viruses.
Breathing cold air causes blood vessels in your upper respiratory system to narrow, trying to conserve heat.
White blood cells have trouble reaching the mucus membranes to fight invading germs.
Meanwhile, certain viruses - like flu and rhinovirus (responsible for the common cold, some sore throats, ear infections, and infections of the sinuses) - have a MUCH easier time replicating when your body temp drops below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. (That's why it's important to let a fever run if you are sick!)
When it's cold, particles we expel in coughs and sneezes are able to break into smaller particles. These are MUCH easier for others to inhale... and the sickness spreads.
In the U.S., we see a steady increase in colds starting in late August, and continuing through spring.
Flu season runs from October to May.
Lower your chance of a surprise virus by:
- Dressing warmly on chilly days (even if you were in shorts the day before!)
- Taking a daily Vitamin D supplement or eating D-rich foods like fatty fish, mushrooms, and eggs
- Getting plenty of rest
- Staying hydrated
- Washing your hands regularly
- Sneezing or coughing into a clean tissue or your elbow
- Not sharing food, drinks, hand towels, and utensils with people who are feeling ill
- Running a humidifier to increase the humidity indoors
- Taking your favorite Sweet's Elderberry product daily!
If you DO become ill, increase your Sweet's dosing frequency to several times a day (follow the bottle directions), and feel better soon!