Does Winter Cause the Flu
Reported January 2008
NEW YORK (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- When Mom or Grandma tells you to bundle up in winter, you might catch a cold or flu, she may be right. New scientific experiments have now proven what we all just assumed, that flu is more common in winter.
If you have had the flu, you know how awful it feels. “Incredible body pain, muscle aches, sore joints, difficulty walking," said Samira Mubaraka, who has had the flu twice.
We all know influenza is more common in winter. But researchers have not known why. Virologist doctor Peter Palese has been studying the effects of heat and cold on the flu virus. He found that at higher temperatures, the flu virus didn’t spread, but at colder temperature it did.
“The virus is probably more stable in cold temperature, so it hangs in the air much longer,” Dr. Palese told Ivanhoe.
Allowing it to spread easier. Here’s how -- when we cough or sneeze, microscopic droplets of water and the virus enter the air. Dry, cold conditions dry out the droplets, helping the virus linger in the air. The dry air also dries out nasal passages, which helps the virus stick.
“Cold dry air going over your nasal mucosa gets cracks in our airways and that allows virus to get in more easily,” Anice Lowen, researcher at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine told Ivanhoe.
And as we head into colder temps -- doctors say although we can’t control, we can get a flu shot to try and prevent it.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Peter Palese, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1124
New York, NY 10029
Tel: (212) 241-7318
Fax: (212) 534-1684
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