ZocdocAnswersCan bad weather make you sick?

Question

Can bad weather make you sick?

I think that every time there is a lot of rain and cold weather for a few days in a row I get sick but my friend said that weather has nothing to do with getting sick. Who is right? Can the weather really make you sick?

Answer

The weather cannot make you sick, although this is clearly one of the most common popular myths about illness! Although most have us have grown up hearing things like "you will catch a cold if you go outside with your head uncovered", there is no actual evidence that exposure to changes in the weather produces these infections. On the other hand, what is true is that viral infections like the common cold are more common in the winter. This has more to do with the fact that in the winter people tended to be packed together in small indoors spaces, rather than outdoors, which allows viruses to spread more rapidly. There is also some evidence that certain conditions, like nasal allergies and sinus congestion, may be worse in humid conditions. This however has more to do with the fact that mold and mites are likely to proliferate in these conditions, rather than with something having to do with the weather directly. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing frequent illness, even though these probably have nothing to do with the weather, you should still get in to see your primary care doctor as soon as possible, as they can help you get to the bottom of what the cause might be.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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