Why do we get more sick in the winter?

As the winter approaches here at state college, I am becoming a bit frightened because I had already had bronchitis twice since I have gotten here, and the peak of the cold weather has not even begun. There is a well-believed and strongly backed fact that people are more likely to get sick in the winter. So there lies a question: what is the cause of this? Is it the weather itself? Through my research on this topic I found that the weather does not directly cause one to get sick. You have to come in contact with a germ or virus to contract a sickness, which is stated here. However there are theories on links between the winter and the likeliness to catch a cold.

Although many of our parents have told us to “come inside, you are going to catch a cold!” That could be a very counterproductive command. There are many possible cofounding variables that could relate the winter with sickness, that have to do with being indoors. For example, this article explains that  In the winter, it is not as desirable to spend time outside, therefore people pack themselves indoors and might become more likely to catch something from someone sick in the same vicinity. Also, there are some theories that central heating has a link to a weakening assume system.

On the other hand, our parents could have been right as they were yelling at us from inside the house. There was a study done on animal cells to test these theories. They tested these cells at different temperatures that correlated with the nose and lungs. The results showed that the decreased temperature did indeed decrease the effectiveness of the immunity to fight off the virus. Although this is good first step in testing the hypothesis, the study did not go beyond this, which makes it difficult to know whether this holds true for humans.

It seems as if the link between the cold and a common cold has not been completely figured out yet, but as the season is approaching I wish everyone luck!


5 thoughts on “Why do we get more sick in the winter?

  1. dff5115

    It is hard to find exact causes for the common cold because it is always changing; this is the main reason there is no vaccine. It is interesting to see that by not going outside as much causes you to get sick. I never would have thought that staying inside in the warmer conditions can lead to getting a cold

  2. Angelica Marie Arguello

    Being from Miami and never having to experience what it’s like to be in such cold weather, i really am nervous to see how this winter treats me. I really think that it depends on the person’s immune system though when it comes to getting sick in the cold. I know for a fact since my body is not used to that type of weather at all that i will be the first to get sick here in State College.

  3. lkr5215

    I have also been frightened about the approaching cold weather as i get sick too often. Its an interesting take to find out that it isn’t necessarily because of the weather and being in a confined place with other people is something that causes people to spread the sickness. The heat may be weakening our immune systems? thats interesting since the heat always makes me feel good. i hope there is more studies to find out everything

  4. Claudia Lynn Hatch

    You did a great job on this blog post! It was really nice to see how you found a study even when this was not a highly tested topic. However, I am not sure that I agree with you, or the science. I don’t think that weather really has an effect on whether or not we get sick. In my opinion it does have to do with weakened immune systems, but I also think it has to do with everyone staying inside more and spreading germs more than usual. I would like to look into this argument and try to find out what the real answer is!

  5. Casey Patrick Brennan

    Its very interesting that it is the opposite reason why people get sick in the winter, when referring to the old saying “don’t go outside you’ll catch a cold”. Instead, people staying inside in confined spaces and spreading disease through that makes much more sense. You talked about a theory in your article where heat and ventilation systems could cause disease to spread. I thought that was very interesting and found this article relating to it. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=2163

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