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Immune System & Cold Weather

Updated: Oct 25, 2023


As you feel the shiver of that first cool wind gust suggesting the season is changing, what is your first thought?


Is it ‘Oh, I must make sure I’m nourishing my immune system to respond well to the viruses that will flourish in the cooler weather’? Maybe not. But maybe after reading this it might be.

Viruses that cause common colds and influenza tend to replicate better in cooler weather. Therefore, our immune system has to work harder to keep these viruses from making us sick. Your immune system is amazing and has many layers and barriers of defence to keep ‘bugs’ at bay.

One of these is the small cilia (like little hairs) inside your nose that help trap debri and prevent it from being inhaled. If you are ‘stuffy from the cold air’ and these are coated in mucous it is more difficult for the


m to do their job as effectively.


If ‘germs’ make it past the cilia they are often met by some white blood cells of your immune system in the blood vessels just inside the nose. Here an immune response begins quickly, and can be enough to ward off the virus from invading your body. However, when the weather and air you are breathing is cold, the blood vessels narrow, which may reduce the amount of white blood cells present to begin thi


s early defence.


Then we look at these particular viruses being spread by airborne particles when people around us are breathing, with accelerated spread by coughing, sneezing. All of a sudden we have a few ways that make it easier for cold and flu viruses to take hold in cooler weather.


Of course we are lucky that our i


mmune system involves a lot more defence mechanisms, but the cooler weather can put more pressure onto these other immune functions.


Hence, I’m sure you can now see why it is important that we look after our immune system even more in the cooler weather.


The purpose of this article is to educate our valued patients about their health and how their body works. We would love to journey with you back to health. Whether you're new to Olea or an existing patient we're here to support you!


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