Germ contact, not cold temps, causing illness - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Germ contact, not cold temps, causing illness

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Doctors say contact with germs is more common in cold weather as people stay in closer quarters. (Source: MGN Online) Doctors say contact with germs is more common in cold weather as people stay in closer quarters. (Source: MGN Online)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Mother Nature subjected North Alabama to several temperature swings over the last few weeks, from the 70s to the 50s, then back to the 60s and 70s, then down to the 20s in some places.

In January, experts said the weather is not the root cause of illnesses some associate with the fluctuation in temperature. "Yucky" days always seem to make people feel bad, especially when there is a large change in temperatures.

Experts said it's really more a causation versus correlation issue. There is more sickness during winter time, and around temperature changes, but it is not caused by the weather itself. The truth is we are exposing ourselves to more germs during the colder weather.

People seem to get sick more often in the winter because we are in closer quarters, trying to stay inside most of the day instead of braving the elements. Doctors said one good sneeze can infect everyone within an eight-foot radius.

"Germs cause disease, and we've known that for a while now. To have either the flu or a cold you have to have contact with the influenza virus or the rhinovirus, not necessarily the cold weather," said Dr. Micah Howard.

Dr. Howard said there is a grain of truth in that fluctuations in barometric pressure can be felt in your sinuses. That does not mean an infection that may be present there is worse, but simply that you can feel it. Remember, it can take as long as a week for an exposure to take hold.

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