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Cold and Flu

Seasons and Flu Epidemics

12/18/2008

Question:

It is commonly known that cold weather does not have an impact on whether or not a person will get the flu or other viruses. If that is the case, then why do flu and cold epidemics tend to occur during the winter months, and not during the summer?

Answer:

In general flu and cold epidemics tend to occur during the winter months because during these cold periods, much more time is spent indoors. People are much more crowded and in closer personal contact with each other and therefore more apt to spread diseases by coughing, sneezing, touching, etc. Also, since the school season is during the cold seasons, and many of the common upper respiratory illnesses are much more prevalent in children, the infections tend to spread much more quickly through that population.

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Response by:

Thomas A Tami, MD Thomas A Tami, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati