Friday, October 19, 2007

 

Sick Season

This report via Yahoo News suggests that the flu virus is more active in the colder weather because of its ability to survive in less humid conditions.

When we cough or sneeze, tiny droplets of water enter the air and hang around until they drop to the ground—or an unsuspecting passerby breathes them in. Once inside our airways, any flu viruses that have hitched a ride on the droplets can launch an attack.

"We found that the flu's transmission period is much, much longer when temperatures and humidity levels are low," (Peter) Palese told LiveScience.

He thinks that the conditions not only suck away the droplet's water weight, allowing them to float in the air longer, but also dry out virus-blocking mucous and cells in our airways. Bigger viral doses combined with the body's disabled means to flush them out, Palese said, gives the flu a better fighting chance to infect
a person
, regardless of their immune system's strength.

I've been pretty good at avoiding the flu in my lifetime but catching a cold is a different story. It does not seem to matter what I do, I get something once a month in the cold months from November through March. Usually not severe but enough ruin a weekend if that is when I feel it.

I have given much thought to this but still have not been able to make a difference by changing my diet or habits. I would estimate that in about 12 of the last 15 years I've had a cold in the last two weeks of November. I can't figure out why that is but I know that it will happen. It always does around Thanksgiving and before December starts.

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