Why You Always Get Sick When Spring Starts
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on March 27, 2018 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog
The beginning of Spring should logistically be a time to celebrate. Temperatures are rising and the relentless snowfall of the past few months has finally ceased. But then you find yourself coming down with a cold, which doesn’t make sense because warm air is supposed to be healthier than cold air, right? Not at this particular time of year.
People are more likely to get sick during the beginning of fall and spring due to a variety of scientific factors. Getting a cold in the fall is at least understandable because temperatures have dropped significantly compared to the previous season. Spring is more of a mystery.
Your Immune System Is Already Compromised
If you have seasonal allergies, you’re probably used to feeling sick whenever there is a remotely noticeable change in weather. A common symptom of seasonal allergies is nasal inflammation, which makes you more vulnerable to infections for two reasons. The first stems from the amount of effort your immune system has to put in to stop your nose from swelling up and your eyes from tearing. When your immune system is excessively busy, it has less available resources to fight off infections, germs, or anything else that could make you sick.
The second reason is an outcome of the environment that is created by all this nasal swelling. In this state, your nasal pathways are actually more hospitable to viruses. So, when season allergies are in full-swing, viruses can easily make themselves a home inside your nasal pathways. Your nose is apparently a lot less appealing to virus during other times of the year.
Out With A Bang, In With A Sneeze
But spring colds don’t just effect people with seasonal allergies. The average person is more likely to get sick at the beginning of spring because the several drastic changes in weather that occur can irritate your throat and nasal pathways. These changes are related to temperature, barometric pressure and wind. Irritation weakens your immune system in general, which brings us right back to the increased vulnerability discussed in the previous section.
If it appears that an unusually large amount of people are getting sick this spring, it might be because this winter most certainly did not go quietly. The final weeks of winter 2018 graced us with a series of snow and rain storms, which suggests that the change from winter to spring will be more significant than usual. Larger changes in the aforementioned three elements of weather could very well make your throat and nasal pathways even more irritated.
Time To Go Outside!
Making you even more prone to getting sick at this time of year is your excitement over the rising temperatures. Think about it: You’ve just spent three months indoors because going outside was legitimately painful. So, when spring rolls around and temperatures jump back up to the 50s, you can’t wait to put on a t-shirt, a light jacket and go outside. What you might have forgotten is that it gets just as warm in the fall. But you wouldn’t go outside during a 50-degree day in the fall because it doesn’t seem that warm compared to the summer. See what’s happening? It’s not as warm as you think, and you’re much more likely to get sick in cold weather.
Spring Break Souvenirs
Not only does spring make you more vulnerable to colds, but there’s probably more viruses going around, too. Spring break typically takes place in mid to late March. It’s very common for people, especially children, to catch something on vacation and not find out they are sick until they get home. Their sickness is then more likely to spread to other people due to their weakened immune systems.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
It’s important to remember that a natural change in weather is not the only reason so many people are getting sick. The fact that spring colds run rampant year after year suggests that not enough people are taking action to prevent colds: washing their hands, wearing scarves to cover their noses, and of course, regular exercise and healthy eating. You’ll be surprised at how effectively these fairly basic practices can boost your immune system and ward off cold-causing germs.
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan