Your Home During the Winter: Will it Breed Viruses?
Different seasons usually have an effect on our health. During the winter, respiratory diseases occur more often, hence our parents and grandparents always warn us about the flu. You may think it’s just some old, passed-on belief, but science actually backs it up.
Like the Spanish flu, the deadliest pandemic in history, the COVID-19 virus may also increase rapidly in the winter. Though there is no firm consensus in the scientific community yet as to why this seasonal variability happens, plausible explanations have been presented. Therefore, everyone is urged to take extra health precautions as we draw nearer the frosty weather.
Despite the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines, we shouldn’t let our guard down yet. After all, there is a new strain of the virus that has started to spread, making them vulnerable even more at risk. And because the cold weather accelerates viral transmission, even your home might not be the safest place anymore.
Why Do Viruses Thrive in the Cold?
According to research, as the seasons cycle, germs, their hosts, and the environments they inhabit all change, making people more or less susceptible to diseases. The changing seasons affect the physical structure of viruses, and how our immune system reacts to them. In the winter, it was found that our ability to ward off respiratory infections weakens due to the cold, dry air, and lack of sunlight.
It was found that lower temperatures and extreme humidity — both high and low — stabilizes the virus further and prolongs its infectiousness. The cold temperature also slows down the chemical reactions that break them down, so the virus can linger in respiratory droplets unencumbered for longer.
Moreover, lower humidity evaporates droplets into smaller particles, making it easier for the virus to attach themselves to other chemicals in the droplet and inactivate. But this won’t automatically kill it. Instead, the naturally-occurring salts in the fluids we exhale can crystallize the virus, and preserve it for its next host.
Making Your Home Warm and Safe from COVID-19
Viruses spread faster indoors, with air conditioners dispersing respiratory droplets. But since you’re using a heater and not your A/C during the winter, the warm temperature inside your home may lower the risks of viral spread. Ensure that your furnace is working, and immediately call for professional furnace services if your unit has broken down.
To prepare for emergencies, keep a pack of supplies, which should consist of prescription drugs and essentials good for two weeks. This will come in handy when an outbreak occurs in your area, or if someone in your household gets sick.
Be more active as well to boost your immune system. Don’t abandon your workouts, and keep your diet balanced by including whole foods, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates in your holiday menu.
Make your whole abode flu-proof by providing doormats in entrances, so that your shoes won’t leave viruses and bacteria on your floors. Better if you can also wash the soles of your shoes first before entering your home.
Regularly disinfect surfaces, especially the ones you frequently touch, such as doorknobs, cabinet handles, faucets, remote controls, and your smartphone. And always wipe your work desk, kitchen countertops, and dining table, since those are the surfaces that you make contact with every day.
But before wiping anything or mopping your floors, ensure that your rags or mop aren’t dirty as well. Sanitize and disinfect them after use, so that they won’t spread germs further instead of getting rid of them.
And of course, make the spaces cozier, so that your home won’t look or feel like a hospital. Fill it with winter decorations, use lots of soft rugs, and throw in a lot of pillows. Don’t forget to disinfect them too, and you’ll have a healthy and toasty winter.
Meta Title: Will You be More Prone to COVID-19 in the Winter?
Meta Description: If your parents or grandparents have warned you about the flu during the winter, you actually have to listen. Cold weather tends to spread virus more, potentially making your home a high-risk place as well. Read on to learn how to warm up and defend your abode for the winter.