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There is Indeed a Link Between Changes in the Weather and Morbidity, but This is Only a Circumstantial Relationship

At the beginning of winter,  the internal wards of hospitals fill up with patients with complications of influenza and colds. In the summer, many people think air conditioners cause them to get ill. Both phenomena have a certain foothold in reality.

but the link between changes in weather and disease is indirect and circumstantial. Even if this relationship is not yet fully agreed upon, one thing seems certain - temperature alone does not affect the risk of disease, because we don`t get sick because of the cold but because of exposure to viruses and bacteria. But the temperature changes are accompanied by additional changes, which actually increase the danger.

Many studies have reported an increase in respiratory diseases and hospitalizations when temperatures drop. There are several reasons for this.

First, some viruses, thrive at low temperatures, and their chances of survival in humans, as well as the chances of infection, increase as temperature and humidity fall. This is coupled with the fact that in the cold and dry weather, the mucous membranes in the body dry up, for example, in the nose and lungs, so the body is more vulnerable to attacks by pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.

In addition, people tend to stay in closed rooms, which are usually not sufficiently ventilated, which increases the chances of infection, if a sick person is in the same space. Finally, a comprehensive literature review from 2016 states that the main cause of disease when temperatures fall is the awakening of dormant viruses in the body due to temperature changes in the carrier body.

Spring and summer diseases

As the weather warms up, we see outbreaks of other diseases, this time due the influence of seasonal allergies. As the body fights a typical spring pollen allergy, it becomes much more vulnerable to attacks by viruses and bacteria.

For example:

Hay fever is a concept born of what was once perceived as a disease that would break out among farmers during the harvest season at the end of the summer. In retrospect, it turned out that this was a severe allergy attack and not a viral or bacterial disease as they had previously thought.

As for the air conditioners

The sick building syndrome - a phenomenon in which people who live or work in buildings that are built in a certain way report headaches, fatigue and nausea during their stay in the building. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is inadequate ventilation, and of course the use of air conditioners.

Here, too, the temperature of the air conditioner itself is not the cause of the disease, but the air conditioner, which is not cleaned frequently, accumulates moisture that provides fertile ground for the development of fungi and bacteria. Some are emitted from the air conditioner and carry in the air and can cause problems in the respiratory system. In addition, the air conditioner recycles the air inside the room or building and does not introduce new air. So harmful substances and bacteria are distributed within the air-conditioned space. 

Finally, the air conditioner dries the air in the room, and as mentioned above, dry air increases the body's vulnerability to bacteria and viruses.


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