Over the weekend, we saw temperatures in Northwestern Pennsylvania reach a record high of 71 degrees, then within hours it dropped drastically into the lower 30’s.
The unusual changes may affect your health during the winter months.
Even though there are warmer temperatures in the forecast, you still may be susceptible to getting sick, however, there are a few tips you can look out for to ensure you are staying healthy.
It has been an unusual way to start the new year. We have seen temperatures change frequently, which may give your body a break from getting sick when its warmer outside.
“When you look at the flu virus, it likes cold, dry air. So the warm spells might actually give people a break as far as how easily as the flu virus is going to spread,” said Charlotte Berringer, Erie County Director of Community Health.
Erie County Department of Health has reported 279 cases for this year, including an increase in Type B influenza.
“The unusual thing about flu season this year is not necessarily the number of cases, but the fact that we’re having Type B flu early in the season rather than Type A,” said Berringer.
Type B influenza has been reported in younger people, which also includes less severe symptoms than Type A.
In Erie County, there have only been 14 hospitalizations, which is half the amount of the 2019 flu season.
“Breathing in cold air that interferes with your normal innate immune response to germs that land in your nose,” said Dr. Phillip Gallagher, Allergist, St. Vincent Hospitals.
Colder air provides a simpler way for germs to enter your body, whereas warmer air may cause germs to diminish.
There are some tips that can help you be sure you’re staying healthy during the cold winter months.
You can prevent getting sick with the flu or a cold by:
- staying home if you feel under the weather
- washing your hands frequently
- getting plenty of sleep
- staying hydrated
As always, if you have any symptoms of the flu or a cold, it is important to see a doctor immediately.