13th April 20:57
How important is the climate? (cough)
I see so much mention of the climate and it's affect on the sinuses
and the nose.
My problems, like many of those on this NG, are non-existant until we
catch a bug of some sort. A simple cold perhaps, a more violent
infection perhaps but this is the starting point ---- it then attacks
and attacks bad!!!
Why is my entire office sick in the winter? Why is 50% of my son's
class out sick in early December (OK, maybe a little exageratted). We
know that the cold weather itself does not make somebody sick but what
does make people more sick in the winter. Why is the cold & flu
Why is everyone, including me, much more healthy in the summer? I've
heard that since we are indoors more in the winter there is less room
for the germs to escape. The dry, irritating conditions of winter
only make us more susceptible to germs. Is there any truth to this?
Does anyone here live in Florida or Southern California? Are the
germs as prevalent in these areas from Dec-March?
I went to college in Mass. and remember sitting in large lecture halls
where every 3 seconds somebody would cough, sneeze, blow their nose
etc... Of course, it never really bothered me because if I caught a
bug, I would drink some tea, rest and be over it within a few days.
Now, I am so cognizant of every cough & sniffle and it is everywhere
in the winter months. Because now, when I catch something -- it can
literally be a life shattering event (and I know many on this group
Why don't we all just move to a warmer climate? Will this help?
13th April 20:58
How important is the climate? (itch molds allergic down sinusitis)
It's simply that you are around sick people more closely in the winter
because you're all huddled together indoors rather than taking walks and
jogging out of doors.
Many rhinovirus colds are transmitted on the hands; you pick up germs on
your fingers and then you rub your nose or eyes and put the viruses in
there. Shaking hands (something you do in an office environment)
transmits the germs. I always wash my hands after shaking hands with
anybody. Or the cold sufferer pushes the button on the elevator, then
you push it, your hands are contaminated. A study I remember of people
chosen at random in the wintertime showed that 60% of them had enough
germs on their hands to give them colds.
If someone is sneezing and coughing with a cold, I'm sure you know to
keep your distance (4 feet).
But there are two main ways you can get ambushed: 1. The cold sufferer
took some cold remedies that relieved their symptoms so you don't know
they have a cold and you get into close contact with him. 2. Colds are
contagious even while you're incubating one (the incubation period is 36
hours give or take). So if someone in your office is incubating a cold,
no symptoms yet, you won't know they've got a cold yet, you won't keep
your distance and you'll catch their cold.
These are some of the reasons why it's so easy to catch a cold without
knowing from whom you caught it, that it's almost a random event.
Those are two of the reasons. (Nasal irrigation will help keep the nose
moist and that may help keep some germs out of the nose.)
In the Southern Hemisphere, it's winter in July-August and that's when
they have their cold/flu season.
But there is one more reason: From September - May, kids are in school,
spreading their germs amongst one another. So there are more colds in
those months--even in warm places like Florida.
In the Northeast, there is a spike in the incidence of colds that takes
place in September. Because that's when kids go back to school after
Airline passengers bring their germs with them too. Normally you
wouldn't worry about catching the flu in August, right? Think again!
Last August, I ran into someone who told me that she had just flown into
Boston from South Africa, where they were having their cold/flu season
because down there it's winter in August. She was incubating the flu
that she had picked up in South Africa, the symptoms appeared after she
got to Boston,`and now she had the flu and could spread it around
If you travel by air, you are exposing yourself to germs from passengers
all over the world--to which you may have no resistance.
You and me both! what I cannot stand is when somebody near you coughs
and doesn't even bother to cover their mouth! The last two colds I had,
I caught because I took a direct hit from somebody who coughed right in
my face--without covering their mouth.
but a lot of colds are transmitted on the hands or by contaminated
objects. NEVER touch your nose or eyes without thoroughly washing your
hands first. If your eyes or nasal passages itch, resist the temptation
to rub them until you've had a chance to wash your hands.
In the supermarket, I once saw one of the workers there had a bad cold,
and as she was putting the cans of vegetables on the shelf she was
actually sneezing on them. Another time, the mechanic who repaired my
car had a cold so he certainly contaminated the car. What to do?
Here's how long cold viruses can survive on a surface: When infected
snot is deposited on a surface, it starts to dry. Once it's dry, 95% of
the viruses are dead. But you can still get a cold from the remaining
5%. What happens then is that the viruses go into a die-off mode in
which their half-life (for average room humidity) is about 15 minutes.
That means that after 3-4 hours *after* the snot has thoroughly dried,
so few viruses are still alive that your chance of catching a cold is very low.
I know it would help me--and I've thought a lot about doing it.
But it won't help people who are allergic to dust and molds. Because in
warm moist areas like Florida, that can be a real problem.
-- Steven L.
16th April 23:02
How important is the climate? (throat)
Wow - it's a lot to think about. For the past 3 years I literally
wash my hands any time I touch ANYTHING. It's getting ridiculous. I
won't go anywhere near food unless my hands are thoroughly washed. My
hands are dry, cracked and sometimes bleeding due to all the hand
washing throughout the day --- crazy huh? If someone even looks the
slightest bit unhealthy I stay clear across the room.
I remember back in college or right after I don't think I'd ever wash
my hands. I went to school in Mass. where everyone was sick. I would
go to parties where everyone was coughing on everything and I'd grab
slices of Pizza with filthy hands. I drank, I stayed up late, I ate
like crap --- you know what the results were......I think I got sick
once in 4 years. I remember I had a sore throat senior year and had
no idea that we even had a doctor on campus. I remember my roommate
gave me a Sudafed and I had no clue what it even was. I would take an
advil or two for a hangover but that is the extent that I knew of
medications. I would love to have that back!!!
Here's one more question for you --- even though the cold & flu season
is Nov-March everywhere in the United States, have there been any
studies to show that it is worse in certain areas? I would just make
an assumption that Wisconsin has more Dr.'s visits than southern FL or
CA. Is there any truth to this at all? You made a good point about
the school year but I am just so aware of all the illnesses around the
tri-state area and am so curious if it is this bad in warmer climates.
16th April 23:02
How important is the climate? (nasal)
Hmm. That sounds a bit excessive. It's real easy for someone like us
who has to try hard to stay healthy to avoid becoming obsessive about
it. I fell into that trap a few years ago myself.
Remember that the germs on your hands can't get into your nose or eyes
unless you put them there. So you really only have to wash if you plan
to rub your nose or eyes.
Also remember that it's very difficult for cold viruses to get from your
mouth to your nose because they would have to "swim upstream" against
the post nasal drip. I saw a study that showed that the concentration
of viruses in your mouth would have to be ENORMOUS in order to catch a
cold that way. I don't worry about putting food in my mouth. I only
wash before touching my eyes and nose.
I don't know.
Dr. Grossan is in Los Angeles. Let's ask him!
-- Steven L.
19th April 22:43
How important is the climate? (bacteria sinusitis)
Another excellent post. I always thought that viruses entered mostly
through the mouth...therefore washing hands everytime I eat. This
will save me a tremendous amount of hand washing
How about bacteria? Does this function the same way? Or are we
mainly concerned with viruses.
For example, when we get sick do we always get sick with a virus which
then may turn into a bacterial infection (i.e. sinusitis) once the
cilia/membranes are damaged and non-functioning? Or do we get sick
with a bacteria right from the start.
I remember hearing that the vast majority (90% +) of illnesses are
viral. It's only when the virus damages the membrane/cilia can it
potentially turn into a bacterial infection (breeding ground in
sinuses for bacteria). Does that sound accurate?