Staying Healthy: Seasonal Viruses


Winter creates ideal conditions for frequent colds, but summer weather makes them last longer with greater intensity. The viruses that produce them change according to the season. The Wall Street Journal reported that “summer colds are caused by different viruses than winter colds and tend to last longer than the winter variety.”

EXAMINING THE ROLE OF SEASONS

Exposure to low temperatures during the winter months does not cause colds, but it may have given them their name. It is estimated that nearly 200 viruses can create the effects of a cold, but the most common one is the rhinovirus. Overheating does not cause an onset either. The coronavirus accounts for about 20 percent of cases, and another 10 percent comes from the respiratory syncytial virus along with the parainfluenza virus.

  • Low Humidity

  • Enclosed Spaces

Close contact with others allows virus germs to spread quickly, and staying indoors during the winter months promotes it. A cough or sneeze can spread germ-laden droplets that may remain infectious for several hours, according to Mayo. “Personal contact with an infected person is the most common way that cold and flu germs spread.” Infected droplets that reach the eyes, nose or mouth usually initiate a bout with a respiratory virus. ​​

Close contact with others allows virus germs to spread quickly, and staying indoors during the winter months promotes it. A cough or sneeze can spread germ-laden droplets that may remain infectious for several hours, according to Mayo. “Personal contact with an infected person is the most common way that cold and flu germs spread.” Infected droplets that reach the eyes, nose or mouth usually initiate a bout with a respiratory virus.

UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECT OF VIRUSES ON THE BODY

Recovering from a cold or flu usually takes a few days or a few weeks, but the effects of viruses on the body may last indefinitely. Everyday Health reports that hearing loss may occur and require medical treatment. Some conditions respond to care, but others may need to use amplification devices.

While exceedingly rare, Guillain-Barre Syndrome may develop from a cold or the flu. A condition that weakens the muscles, it affects approximately one person in a population of 100,000. Mayo reports that the syndrome has no cure, but plasma exchange and immunoglobulin therapy can reduce the severity of damage to the body.

Pneumonia results from respiratory viruses in about 33 percent of cases. An infection that affects the lungs, it may last for as long as three weeks in healthy people. Conditions that complicate the body’s responses include a weak immune system, failure of nasal passages to filter adequately and the presence of powerful germs.


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