It is that time of year that everybody dreads: Flu season. Typically occurring in the colder months, the flu can hit areas fast and hard; affecting both the young and old. With symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, body aches, fever, chills and headache keeping people in bed, many have turned to the flu shot and other immune boosters as a way to ward off these dreaded germs. However, many people question why the flu is so prone to occur during the winter months? When January and February hit you hear about the flu running rampant in areas of the country, to the extent of some schools having to shut down for days at a time to clean and sanitize. This is never something you hear about in May or June. The answer doesn’t necessarily have to do with the weather itself but more regarding the virus.
The Strength Of The Flu Virus
Once the flu virus hits an area and begins to spread, there are certain weather conditions or environmental conditions that help it thrive and keep going. The flu virus in general will be far more stable and able to reproduce if the air is very cold and very dry. It is no coincidence that this is usually the quality of the air in the winter months when the flu is at it’s peak. When the spring weather arrives and the temperatures become warmer along with a higher level of humidity in the air, you will see the prevalence of the flu dissipate.
A Long History
The flu has been around for many years which has given scientists and medical professionals a lot of opportunities to study it. Back in 1918, there was actually a flu pandemic that swept across the nation, killing many people. It was at this time that people began to ponder why the flu was so contagious and spread like wild fire. After years of study it was determined that the cold weather made it easy for the flu virus to survive and contrary to what people always thought, the flu survives easier out in the cold rather than in a home, in a warmer environment.
All Around The World
Unless you live in the tropics, chances are your area will have a certain time of the year when the flu is lurking around. In the northern areas of the country the flu tends to creep up between the months of November and March. This is when the weather is the coldest in these areas. In the southern latitudes, May until September is when the flu is prevalent. When children are in school this causes a lot more cases of the flu as well as germs get passed around and around between children, teachers and families. In addition to the weather, many people believe the flu season is ramped up by less vitamin D intake in the winter as well as less melatonin.
Have no fear, the flu is much better understood these days and there are tried and true ways of preventing it and treating the symptoms. Unfortunately, because the flu is a virus, there are not a lot of medications that are effective in treating it. A lot of times you have to wait for it to run its course. Hospitals and medical professionals are well trained however, and can help treat dangerous symptoms like dehydration before the flu becomes deadly. It is wise to load up on your vitamin C and zinc, wash your hands and consider getting the flu shot, which can be quite effective against that year’s flu virus strain.