Cold Weather’s Effects on Your Immune System

Posted: February 1, 2015 in Articles
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A few years ago, we heard over and over again that cold weather actually doesn’t make you get sick. Everyone was wearing shorts in the wintertime and when someone told them that they needed to put more clothes on or they would get sick, they would say, “Cold weather does not make you sick”.

Well, it is true; it’s not the cold weather itself that makes you sick. People now know that cold weather has certain effects on various parts of your immune system which makes you more susceptible to sickness. So although simply being out in the cold cannot make you sick, it can enable a virus to infect you.

We read an article about the various ways the cold weakens your immune system, and we liked it. It gives a bit of motivation for dressing warmly and even taking precautions about your house. Here’s how cold weather can affect you:

It dries your mucus membranes out which makes them less able to trap germs. You should keep your house humid in the winter to help your mucus membranes out, but I’m not quite sure what to do about this when you go outside. Maybe wear a scarf around your head?

The common cold can spread throughout your body easier in cold weather. In addition, infected cells in your body often self destruct, and warmer cells are more likely to do this. Warmer cells can also make a better “defense line” against germs.

Cold temperatures cause blood vessels to tighten, which makes it harder for white blood cells to go to the infected area and fight the disease.

You’ve also probably noticed that you don’t go outside as much during the winter because it’s cold. Therefore, you don’t get as much sun as you might during the summer. This stops the body’s manufacturing of Vitamin D which is essential to defend against sickness. If we don’t have as much of it, we’re more susceptible to getting sick. That’s easy to fix, though; just take vitamin D pills!

Finally, I read in my science book that another reason cold weather can have bad effects on your health is that your body has to focus on keeping warm. If your right leg, for instance, is cold, your body has to focus on making that warm, and in doing that, it lowers your immune system’s defense. Dress warmly!

Source: Science had it wrong – Cold weather can make you sick

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