The increased viral activity that we have been seeing this winter is no coincidence. Just like the flu, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has a tendency to get worse during the colder weather, but why does this happen?
Our AFC Urgent Care NC team provides some helpful answers below, so keep reading!
Do Viruses Get Worse in the Winter?
They become more common. While viruses do cause greater damage in the winter, that does not mean they disappear when the weather warms up. In the United States, viruses are detected all year, but the CDC has discovered that the flu peaks between December and February, the same time as other illnesses like the common cold and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).
COVID-19 can be added to this list as well. Like the flu, the coronavirus is an enveloped viruses, which means that it has an external fatty or lipid membrane that protects the virus’ structural integrity while also allowing it to reproduce and generate new infections. We’ve listed a few other reasons viruses tend to cause damage in the winter below.
Additional Causes of More Winter Viral Activity
- Spending more time indoors. During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows shut, making them more likely to breathe the same air as an infectious person.
- Colder, drier air. The flu and COVID-19 may be able to infect more people in colder, drier settings because they can survive longer.
- Less sunlight and shorter days. We acquire less vitamin D and melatonin when we get less sunlight, which are both important in battling viruses and illnesses.
How Can I Stay Healthy During the Winter?
Getting vaccinated against is the best thing you can do! Since the flu and COVID-19 typically cause the most damage during the winter, please consider getting vaccinated against both if you haven’t done so already.
Below is a list of other strategies to stay healthy.
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 people who are sick.
- Don’t share personal items.
Whether you’re dealing with a virus or aches and pains, our AFC Urgent Care NC locations are here to serve you and your family. Visit one today—no appointments necessary!