In tonight's HealthierMe, allergist and immunologist Doctor George Martin tells us it may be more than the winter weather that's making us sick -- dead leaves and melting snow provide perfect conditions for the proliferation of mold. As the spore counts rise, all that mold can aggravate allergies and lead to sinus infections.
Fortunately for all allergy sufferers, it's easily remedied by a killer frost -- 25 degrees for greater than 4 hours.
However, Dr. Martin also warns that sudden climate changes can also put extra stress on your body. "When you have a high pressure system, and then a low pressure system comes in, a lot of people do complain about worsening of their migraines, worsening of their asthma symptoms, and surely a lot of people have worse arthritic symptoms," the doctor explains. "They just don't feel as well on those low pressure cool days."
Research also finds that the lower average humidity of the winter months helps the flu virus survive longer, and cold weather also translates to more time indoors, making it extra-easy for a virus to spread. Fortunately, you can also prepare for that with a vaccination.
What if you're already sick? Dr. Martin adds that "if you're starting to see yellow-green mucus -- in other words signs of a secondary bacterial infection -- you really should consult with your doctor."
And no matter the time of year, the best prevention comes through good nutrition, hygiene, and exercise.