Because it's *still* sick season: the cold on colds and the flu

Because it's *still* sick season: the cold on colds and the flu

It’s (still) that season: cold and flu season – thanks, everlasting winter.


Hey, I’m Danica! I’ve been lucky enough to mostly avoid getting sick this winter, but it’s not over yet. So instead of spreading germs, I’m spreading some handy information on the cold and its influence on colds.


The CDC has been closely monitoring flu activity, as they do, and their studies have shown that in 2015 and 2016, the peak month for getting the flu was February (followed by December, March and January).


Cold air is obviously a main culprit.

Common cold and flu viruses typically gain access through our nose. Thankfully, our nasal linings typically have a great defence against microbes: mucus.

Your nose constantly secretes mucus (read: snot). Viruses will get stuck in that sticky stuff, and that mix eventually gets blown out and trapped in a handy tissue, or swallowed down, where our stomach acids get the job of neutralising those microbes.

But guess what? That cold winter air cools down the nasal passage, which slows down mucus clearance… which means that our friends rhinovirus (the main cause of the common cold) and influenza (the flu) get to stick around for a bit longer and try to weasel their way though your snot to start wreaking havoc on your body.

Once a virus manages to slip past that primary defence, the immune system takes up the fight and sends out its soldiers: phagocytes. These specialised immune cells will surround those viruses and take them out. But thanks again to the cold, those cells might not be at peak performance. Cold temperatures are linked to immune system suppression, all while rhinoviruses tend to prefer the chill.

Suffice to say, your chances of catching a cold or coming down with the flu in the winter are pretty high, so it’s best to do what you can to protect yourself. Washing your hands properly is not only hygienic, but also a great start to staving off viruses. Pair that with avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and doing your best to steer clear of people who are already sick, and you'll have a fighting chance.


Already succumbed to the sickness, and looking for ways to deal with it? Here’s our routine for getting back to health. 


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