Is cold a factor in the spread of viruses?

Verified on 18/01/2024 by Alexane Flament, Editor
Le froid est-il un facteur de propagation des virus ?

The cold may not be responsible for infectious diseases, but it can help them spread! Here are a few useful tips to help you avoid viruses this winter!

Is cold a factor in the spread of viruses?

Cold weather has returned to France. And with it, infectious diseases… But are they really caused by sub-zero temperatures?

According to some researchers, cold, dry weather is itself a factor favoring the flu virus. And its consequences favor the transmission of seasonal infections.

Contrary to popular belief, confinement is not the solution. In fact, it is the primary culprit.

According to a 2009 report on the physiology of cold by the Institut de veille sanitaire,  » the tendency for the population to concentrate in confined, poorly ventilated spaces (when it’s cold) increases the risk of cross-infections « .

To prevent the spread of disease, Santé Publique France recommends washing hands regularly with liquid soap, which is more hygienic than solid soap, and drying them thoroughly afterwards.

It’s also best to use tissues afterwards, to be disposed of in a closed garbage can, and to cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze.

Eat a balanced diet and avoid temperature shocks

Doctor Marie-Laure Alby, general practitioner, explains:  » If you go out in the cold without being sufficiently covered, you’re more likely to catch a virus than if you’re in a more temperate atmosphere.

In fact, she explains that since the body is already busy fighting the cold, it has fewer immune defenses and is therefore more exposed to viruses.

How to protect yourself?

Certain natural products can help boost the immune system during cold spells. These include royal jelly and propolis.

Used as an essential oil, ravintsara is recognized for its anti-viral properties.

« It’s a plant that strengthens the immune system, can also be anti-bacterial, anti-viral and also stimulates the psyche, when we’re tired, depressed, especially in winter, since we don’t see much light, » explains Florence, a pharmacist in Paris, interviewed by BFMTV.

Finally, as for the rest of the year, a balanced diet will help you stay in shape.

Be careful ! Eating too much fat is not a solution: it’s better to focus on fruit and vegetables, especially those that provide vitamin C, such as citrus fruits.

In fact, a number of foods can help boost your immune system, including green tea, garlic, spinach, ginger, dark chocolate, honey, citrus fruit, dried fruit, turmeric, wholegrain cereals and more.