Can the weather make you sick? - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Can the weather make you sick?

Are the wildly fluctuating temperatures making you sick? (Source: MGN Online) Are the wildly fluctuating temperatures making you sick? (Source: MGN Online)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

One day it's freezing cold and the next you can exercise outside. Then it's cold again. People complain the temperature variation or the cold weather makes them sick.

Dr. Micah Howard says that's just not true. "Germs cause disease. And we've known that for a while now, so to have either the flu or a cold you have to have contact with influenza virus or the rhinovirus, not necessarily the cold weather."

So why do we seem to get sick more often in winter than spring or summer?  

"In colder weather, flu viruses capsules may be a little more resilient, so they can last a little longer.  Now when you sneeze, you can project some of the fluids from the sneeze," said Dr. Howard.

He says just because you contact those droplets today doesn't mean you'll feel the effects today. "The turn around from experiencing contact and actually having symptoms from the flu can be almost a week. So you have had that contact a week ago."

Doctors say there is a grain of truth, on a rainy day, when the barometric pressure goes up and down, you can feel it through your sinuses. 

"When you have already had symptoms, particularly sinus symptoms, rise and fall barometric pressure can make those symptoms worse. That doesn't necessarily correlate with the infection getting worse or being pre-disposed to have colds. A healthy person will still have a cold," said Howard.

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