Health experts say you can't always blame mother nature when you get sick

Photo provided by staff.
Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 5:17pm

As we all know, the weather in Louisiana can be a little crazy. One day it's freezing and the next it's warm and breezy. With these weather changes, it's seems like a lot of people end up getting sick, but exactly why is that?

A lot of people think we get sick because of the changing weather, but experts say, while it does play a role, it's actually not quite that simple.

Jackie Victoriano, like most people, forgets the importance of washing her hands, especially when it gets cold outside.

"I try to wash my hands more, but I don't really wash my hands as often as I should," Jackie said. "People sneeze and cough in their hands all the time because the weather's cold, and then they don't wash their hands."

"Weather change can effect whether or not you get a cold because as the weather dries out, our nasal passages are drier. When our nasal passages are drier, we're more likely to be able to pick up a virus and keep that virus," Dr. Catherine O'Neal of Our Lady of the Lake said.

Here in Louisiana, the weather changes constantly, but Dr. O'Neal said the weather change isn't the only reason why people tend to get the sniffles.

"When the weather changes and the humidity drops, viruses you may sneeze forth or cough forth onto a hard area in your home will stay alive longer in the low humidity," Dr. O'Neal said. "So in the winter time when you're sick, you may transmit that virus easier and then it may stay infectious in your home for longer, allowing your family member to pick it up from you."

That's why it's important to make sure you protect yourself by washing your hands and making sure you clean everything around around you, especially during flu season.

"Every week, since the beginning of December, we've seen more and more flu cases. We have a lot of very sick people in the hospital right now with the flu, and our sickest people did not get the vaccine," Dr. O'Neal said. "Always wash your hands and have good cough etiquette."

So, to keep you and your loved ones safe, make sure when you cough, cough into your sleeves or into a tissue to prevent the spread of germs.

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