During this time of year, it likely feels like you and everyone you know is coughing, sneezing and dealing with some type of bug. Let’s examine a few of the reasons why colds are more common during winter.
Cold Air May Affect Immune Response
A new study published in December of 2022 found that colder temperatures killed off a large amount of virus and bacteria-fighting cells within the nostrils. These cells are known as nasal epithelium-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) and having less can potentially increase vulnerability to certain illnesses.
Specifically, the study found that “These potent antiviral immune defense functions mediated by TLR3-stimulated EVs were impaired by cold exposure via a decrease in total EV secretion as well as diminished microRNA packaging and antiviral binding affinity of individual EV.”
Being Indoors Can Expose You to More Germs
While cold weather may inhibit our immune response, it also causes us to stay indoors a lot more. This means spending more time in enclosed spaces with other people, making it easier for germs to spread. Also, the air tends to be drier which can both irritate our nostrils and cause viruses to remain in the air for a longer period of time, increasing the chances of getting sick.
There are steps you can take to reduce your chances of illness this winter, including:
- Washing your hand regularly with soap and warm water
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible
- Keeping your distance from others who are coughing or sneezing
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in your home
If you have symptoms of a cold, do your best to stay at home and avoid going to work or seeing friends at Lake Jackson Seafood until you have fully recovered.
What To Do if Your Symptoms Linger
Most people can recover from a cold at home by getting enough rest, drinking plenty of fluids and taking over-the-counter medication if need be. However, if you’ve noticed that you have a chronic cough, lingering sore throat or nasal congestion that just won’t go away make an appointment with a medical provider. These may be signs that you’re dealing with a chronic ENT condition that needs further evaluation and treatment.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Lake Jackson ENT today.