Spring is finally here, which means it’s time for short sleeves, outdoor adventures, and a not-so-fond farewell to cold and flu season. If you’re anything like us, you’re more than ready to kick winter weather to the curb – especially if you were a victim of the influx of germs during the winter months. Colder temperatures certainly seem to foster common ailments like the cold and flu. So is warm weather better for health? The answer is a resounding yes.
Why Is Warm Weather Better for Health?
More Light, Fewer Germs
Light has served as a sanitizing agent for decades. Back in the mid-20th century, Niels Finsen won the Nobel Peace Price for using ultraviolet (UV) light to fight tuberculosis. Since then, UV light has been a trusted sanitizing tool, used by hospitals and laboratories to reduce bacteria in sterile environments. Of course, the sun naturally produces UV light, and the sun’s rays are more powerful in the summertime. Therefore, warm weather – weather with more exposure to UV light – kills more germs than cold weather with minimal light.
Cold and Flu Less Likely
While influenza can occur year-round, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a predictable seasonal pattern. Now, it’s common to refer to the colder months as “cold and flu season.” On average, the first major spike of flu cases typically begins in October and peaks around the height of winter. But why is that? It turns out that cold temperatures and low humidity are common factors in global influenza spikes. A 2013 study found that rhinoviruses actually thrive in colder temperatures, replicating more easily in cooler air thanks to an immune response. That means that bundling up and covering your nose and mouth during chilly days might actually help you avoid coming down with the flu.
The Role of Vitamin D
UV light doesn’t just kill germs – it also has a direct impact on our bodies’ production of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in a host of physical functions, including production of several antimicrobial molecules. One antimicrobial molecule in particular has been shown to limit influenza virus replication in laboratory studies. Ultimately, more sunlight means fewer germs and more Vitamin D. It’s a win-win.
Outdoors vs. Indoors
People are more likely to spend time outside in the warmer months, whereas they’re usually cooped up indoors during wintertime (due to the chilly temperatures as well as the holiday events). And when many people are driven into an indoor space – a movie theater, a bar, a restaurant, a gym, etc. – germs can run rampant. This is especially true if that space has poor ventilation or isn’t properly cleaned on a regular basis.
Potential Downsides of Warm Weather
While warm weather has been proven to reduce cases of the cold and flu and have an all-around antimicrobial effect, there are still a few health hazards at play in the spring and summer. Germs can spread in any weather, after all. Whether you’re coming into contact with food at summer barbecues or coaching Little League, make sure to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly to prevent the spread of germs. Carry hand sanitizer for those times when you don’t have access to soap and a sink.
In addition, if you’re traveling for spring break or summer vacation, review our tips for avoiding germs while traveling. Be sure to pack some hand sanitizer in your carry-on and consider purchasing a germ fogger to disinfect your hotel room, cruise ship cabin, or RV and an auto disinfecting and deodorizing mist for your rental car.
So is warm weather better for health? Studies show that exposure to sunlight and warmer temperatures have a definite antimicrobial effect, giving us one more reason to welcome spring with open arms.
Of course, germs can still strike at any moment – which is why it’s important to be prepared with your own germ-fighting arsenal. SafeSpace can help. The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers to keep you safe and healthy no matter the season. To keep germs at bay year-round, stock up on germ-fighting essentials like the original SafeSpace® Disinfectant Germ Fogger (since 2005). Or you might be interested in our Germ Fighter Kit, which includes our Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer, Germ Fogger, and Auto Disinfecting & Deodorizing Mist.
For more information about SafeSpace, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-735-2506.
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