What Causes Viruses to Spread Faster in the Winter?

It’s a well-known fact that viral activity gets worse every winter. More and more people get sick with viruses like the flu between December and February, but why does that happen?

Read on as our AFC Urgent Care Knoxville team shares some helpful answers!

Is Viral Activity Affected by Cold Weather?

Yes, it is. While cold weather itself won’t necessarily make you sick, it does provide a more comfortable environment for illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 to live in. According to experts, both the flu and the coronavirus are enveloped viruses, which means they have an external fatty or lipid membrane that protects the virus’ structural integrity while also allowing it to cause more new infections.

When exposed to temperatures slightly above and below freezing, this barrier solidifies and makes it easier for the virus to live and spread. We’ve listed a few more reasons why cold temperatures can exacerbate viral infections below.

Additional Causes of More Winter Viral Activity

What Can I Do to Avoid Getting a Virus This Winter?

While it’s not necessarily accurate to say that you can 100% avoid getting sick with a virus this winter, there are many strategies you can implement to lower your risk, which we’ve listed in the section below.

Perhaps the greatest strategy, though, is getting vaccinated. The flu and COVID-19 are currently the most dangerous illnesses that we are dealing with right now, and vaccines exist to combat both. If you haven’t been vaccinated against these illnesses, please consider doing so ASAP!

Additional Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

  • Wear a mask. Masks are a simple way to protect yourself and others from the virus by preventing respiratory droplets from spreading.
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Frequent handwashing helps protect against a variety of illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are less likely to enter your body if you keep your hands away from your face.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Don’t share personal items.

We encourage you to take the necessary steps in protecting yourself and others from getting sick this winter! If you do feel under the weather, visit us today.