Why Do Viruses Spread More During the Winter?

February 15, 2022

Why Do Viruses Spread More During the Winter?- AFC Urgent Care

While grandma’s warning that you might catch a virus if you stay out in the cold isn’t totally correct, the concept is right on. Virus activity increases every winter, and the CDC states that viruses, such as the flu, reach their peak between December and February.

So, what causes this increase in viral activity, and are there ways you can avoid getting sick? Our AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail team provides some helpful answers below, so keep reading!

How Does Cold Weather Affect Viral Activity?

While cold weather does not cause you to catch a virus, it does provide a more conducive habitat for illnesses like the flu and COVID-19. Both the flu and the coronavirus are enveloped viruses, which means they have an exterior fatty or lipid membrane that protects the virus’s structural integrity and allows it to replicate and initiate new infections, according to experts.

This barrier solidifies under cold temperatures, making it simpler for the virus to survive and spread from person to person. Below are a few other reasons why cold weather can lead to an increase in viral infections.

Additional Causes of More Winter Viral Activity

How Can I Lower My Risk of Getting a Virus?

There are a number of practical strategies to stay healthy and infection-free, and sticking with these strategies is especially crucial in the age of COVID-19.

In addition to the strategies we’ve listed below, getting vaccinated to protect against certain viruses is, perhaps, your best line of defense. Receiving the COVID-19 and flu vaccines reduces your chances of getting the illness in the first place, but if you do get it, it greatly lowers your risk of becoming seriously ill.

Additional Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

  • Wear a mask. Masks are a simple way to protect yourself and others from the virus by preventing respiratory droplets from spreading.
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Frequent handwashing helps protect against a variety of illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are less likely to enter your body if you keep your hands away from your face.
  • Avoid those who are sick.

We encourage you to take the necessary steps to stay healthy this winter! If you do begin to feel sick, however, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to stop by AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail today.

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