Breakdown: Why the flu is more likely in winter

BREAKDOWN: Why the flu is more likely in winter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With winter around the corner, flu and cold season are quickly approaching. Have you ever heard that the cold makes you sick? We talk about why this could be true in the Breakdown this week.

Your grandma did get one thing wrong, though. Not wearing a coat on a cold day doesn’t make you sick, according to medical experts. However, experts believe that staying indoors because of the cold temperatures could be to blame. Germs are more easily spread from person to person, which is more likely when you’re cooped up inside in the winter. This will keep the virus inside and may cause you to get sick from a person at home, school, or work even if you stay far away from them.

In the summer, water droplets in the air are heavier and will fall to the ground faster. This helps move the germs out of the air. In the winter, the opposite is the case as water droplets can last longer and allow viruses present within these drops to linger in the air.

The flu season starts in October, but typically peaks between December to February. The chart below shows the increase in cases for the flu during these months. Another thing to note, the number of flu cases spiked last year during the winter. The winter months for 2017/2018 were a few degrees below average, which may have been a contribution to the spread of the flu.

Another reason could be the lack of vitamin D and melatonin from less time in the sun, which are key ingredients to building our immune systems. You can help prevent the flu by washing your hands, getting a flu vaccination and maintaining a healthy eating and sleeping schedule.

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