Are There any Environmental Factors Related to the Flu?


Whenever we get sick, we tend to blame the weather or the lifestyle we have. In the case of the flu, many people would usually associate it with season. However, the flu in general has various factors. Although the number of flu cases rises during the winter, it is not indicative that the flu is seasonal.

According to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, “influenza outbreaks equally affect those living in warm, tropical regions where there is no direct link to seasonal temperature changes.” This means that even people who live in tropical countries where there is no winter are also vulnerable to the flu.


In the research conducted by University of California San Diego, findings show that humidity is the common environmental driver that links the flu to outbreaks around the world. The study is based on 20-year data of global influenza taken from the Global Atlas of the World Health Organization. This data reveals the relationship between the temperature across all latitudes and the occurrences of flu outbreaks.

In the study, it is found that the critical temperature for the flu outbreak is about 70 to 75 degrees. The above temperature doesn’t directly trigger a flu outbreak, but this is the threshold to watch out for because the humidity below, and above such a level is what triggers viral development.

Who is Susceptible to Flu?

People in population-dense areas are susceptible to the flu. According to American Society for Microbiology, “crowding has therefore been implicated as a risk factor for a wide range of viral and bacterial diseases, including influenza.” The reason for this is that the aerosol particles of the virus can easily spread and transmitted from one person to another.

When it comes to age, nobody is exempt. Both children and adults are vulnerable to the flu depending upon the environment. Children in tropical countries are more affected than children in countries with four seasons. This is because the humidity level in tropical countries is higher.

Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from the flu, especially in their second and third trimester. Obese people with a body mass index of around 40 are also vulnerable.

Relationship Between Humidity and the Flu Outbreak

The findings in the study sponsored by Scripps suggest that heat promotes the spread of the flu virus. This points towards the fact that air droplets from the flu virus can hardly spread since the low-temperature make such droplets thicker and heavier while it can freely move from one host to another during warm weather.

Moreover, the flu virus is contained at a very low temperature while it grows faster at around 70 to 75 degrees. In other words, humidity is the perfect condition that develops the flu virus.


There are different medicines doctors may prescribe depending upon the type and severity of the flu. It is best to consult your doctor if related symptoms persists. Meanwhile, it is recommended to place dehumidifiers or air conditioners in your room to reduce the risk of the flu. This will temporarily contain the spread of virus.

Alongside, you should eat food that is rich in antioxidants to enhance your immune system and protect your body from diseases such as the flu.


Environment is a big factor in the spread of the flu virus. It is best to prevent the flu than to cure it. To do so, always make sure that your environment is well ventilated. A clean environment also helps prevent such disease. Otherwise, keep yourself hydrated all the time. This will protect your body from the flu.

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