GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's no secret that Michigan's winter season can be one of the harshest in the country. What makes it more challenging is the fluctuation of temperatures.
We want to verify, does a drastic change in temperature increase your risk of catching an illness? We asked Dr. Bruce Olson from Mercy Health Muskegon and Dr. Sara Uekert from Grand Rapids Allergy.
Dr. Bruce Olson is an infectious disease specialist.
"The way weather impacts that is that cold dry weather influenza survives longer in these droplets in the air and longer on surfaces, creating a greater period of time for which infection can be transmitted," Dr. Olson said.
He said the change in weather alone isn't necessarily going to give you the sniffles.
"Every virus is different, and there are multiple viruses that do tend to occur in the fall and early winter. The cold virus is more spread by contact by hands," Dr. Olson said.
Dr. Sara Uekert specializes in allergy and asthma treatment. She too, agreed with Dr. Olson.
"As far as the average healthy adult who does not have asthma will these major weather shifts cause an infection? No, not necessarily," Dr. Uekert said.
However, the same can't be said for patients with asthma.
"The barometric pressure shifts, the larger ones, will definitely be a trigger to the lung tissue and cause asthma events," Dr. Uekert said.
"Patients will definitely see changes in weather as a major trigger and that can be either things like humidity, extreme cold air, dry air or barometric pressure shifts and for a lot of asthmatics that big change from warm to cold can set off their asthma," Dr. Uekert said.
So for allergy and asthma sufferers, she said yes -- the weather pattern can be a significant trigger.
But, for an average healthy person, can drastic temperature changes cause an illness?
Our sources said, no.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't continue to bundle and layer up in frigid weather. In fact, because we tend to stay inside and in close quarters to those around us during this time of year, you should still continue to cover your cough, wash your hands and keep your hands away from your face.
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