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Why are people more likely to get sick during periods of cold weather?

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Cold weather doesn’t make you ill, however, it can increase your chances of becoming ill. Illnesses such as colds and flu are more common in winter months, and you are at greater risk if you come into contact with someone who is already infected with one of these viruses.  

Below are some of the many different reasons as to why people tend to get sick more often during the winter months: 

  • Some viruses can survive more easily in cold and dry conditions. Droplets which come from coughing or sneezing can contain viruses which stay in the air for longer if it’s dry. 
  • Your immune system protects you from viruses and diseases, which during the winter could make it harder for your immune system to fight off. 
  • Your airways and nose are lined with mucus with contains antimicrobial properties and tiny hairs called cilia. These act as a barrier for trapping viruses that you breathe in and protect you against them. But breathing in cold, dry air during the winter months can affect the mucus and cilia lining in your nose and throat, making them less efficient.
  • During winter we tend to stay indoors more to keep warm but being in close contact with one another in enclosed places means viruses can spread more easily from person to person. Viruses can spread from droplets when you cough or sneeze and can also spread through contaminated surfaces. This means indoor places such as schools, the workplace and public transport are a perfect breeding ground for viruses.

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