Does Cold Weather Make You Sick?
Published | 4 min read
Cold weather makes your immune cells less effective at protecting you from viral infections. Learn more about keeping warm and supporting your immunity this winter.
But have you ever wondered if there is there any truth to this? Does the cold weather really make you more likely to get sick?
Here’s what the experts say about whether
How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Health?
Cold weather alone does not make you sick. However, it increases the risk of catching a cold for several reasons.
First, viruses survive and reproduce more rapidly in the cold, dry winter air, making it easier for them to spread. The cold weather also keeps people inside and viruses spread quickly in close areas. Additionally, research shows that
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Kong Teck Chuan, “Being cold when exposed to cold weather can make us ill. When we are healthy, we can acclimatize to these external environment changes. When the balance in our body as well as with the environment is upset, we are not able to cope with external changes. This is how cold weather can cause sickness.”
“Cold weakens the yang energy in our body, causing us to feel cold and pain in the affected area. In some cases, as our qi flow is also affected, coldness emotions such as depression and fatigue may set in, too. Our extremities are affected as well, leading to things like cold hands and feet. Cold causes the flow of qi, blood and body fluid to slow down. This may lead to joint and muscle pain and stomach discomfort,” Physician Kong further explained.
COVID-19 and flu symptoms
There are many different upper respiratory viruses that cause the common cold. Rhinoviruses are the most common for runny noses. These viruses can also lead to asthma, sinus infections, and ear infections.
Most rhinoviruses replicate in the nasal passageway where temperatures range from 91 to 95
One study found that heart attacks were more likely to happen on days with cold air temperatures. Another study found that lower-than-average air temperatures were linked to hospitalizations for stroke.
Results of another study conducted by the American College of Cardiology showed the risk of a heart attack increased by about 5% for every five-degree Celsius jump in temperature.
Swings of more than 25 degrees Celsius were associated with a greater increase in heart attack rates compared to a smaller increase of 10 to 25 degrees Celsius.
If you have a heart condition, be mindful of outdoor activities in the cold, such as shoveling snow, as this may put too much strain on the heart.
Tips For Staying Healthy This Winter
Physician Kong recommends the following to help stay healthy this winter:
- Try warming herbs, such as
brown sugar ginger tea, which can disperse and expel Cold. It also helps promote circulation to help warm up cold hands and feet.
- Black pepper warms the central body and helps move qi downwards to reduce distension
Shiso perillamoves the central qi and expels Windand Cold
- Soak your feet in a warm foot bath prepared with Argy Wormwood Leaf (Mugwort) and fresh ginger to promote better sleep
You can also add warming soups and herbal teas to your diet to help fight the cold weather and stay hydrated. Immune-boosting supplements such as Cordyceps and Lingzhi contain anti-viral properties that can help fight the common cold.
Additionally, bird’s nest has been shown to help support respiratory health, which can help protect against coughing and nasal congestion.
Exercise with caution in cold weather
Those with weak qi should consider doing
Qigong integrates meditation, breathing therapy, interlacing body movements, and coordinated body posture. It focuses on the self-awareness of posture and stillness, which aims to reach the deep states of body-mind relaxation and calmness.
“For those who live in places where winter gets very cold, exercise carefully and avoid sweating too much. Do not be overly covered or consume ‘
- Northwestern Medicine. 2022. Can Winter Make You Sick?
- American Heart Association. 2021. Can the cold really make you sick?
- Archives of Virology. 2017. Exposure to cold impairs interferon-induced antiviral defense.
- JAMA Cardiology. 2018. Association of Weather With Day-to-Day Incidence of Myocardial Infarction.
- Journal of Stroke and Cerebralvascular Diseases. 2016. Average Temperature, Diurnal Temperature Variation, and Stroke Hospitalizations.
- The China Project. 2020. TCM remedies for the cold and flu season.
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