Feb 1, 2011 11:28 PM by Maddie Garrett

Fact or Fiction: Can Changing Weather Make You Sick?

Whenever weather makes a drastic change, complaints about getting sick are sure to follow. But is there really a link between infection and climate? KATC's Maddie Garrett talked to an Acadiana doctor to separate fact from fiction.

The Lourdes After Hours Clinic has been busy this winter. Doctor Joseph Luquette said he's seen his share of colds and flu.

"As that original respiratory infection seems to be waning, the flu seems to be just taking off," said Luquette.

And that brings us to myth number one: Being cold causes the cold or flu.

Doctor Luquette says it's just not true, despite what your mother might have said about wearing a coat or you'll catch a cold. You can only catch cold or flu from coming in contact with a virus or bacteria. And the cold weather does play a part in keeping people indoors.

"What the weather does do that makes you sick is it makes you go inside and hang out with other people and then you get sick from them. So it's the fact that the weather forces people to be near each other," said Luquette.

And you've heard this one before: Sudden changes in weather make you sick. Also fiction.

Again illness is caused by infection. There is no evidence that shows a storm or fluctuating temperatures make you sick.

"Most of these things are just myths. They are things that people have correlated but there's not a cause and effect relationship," explained Luquette.

Here is one fact though: Weather does effect asthma sufferers.

Doctors say a sharp change in barometric pressure or winds with airborne pollutants can trigger asthma attacks, like increased coughing and weezing.

So, being cold can give you a runny nose, but not the cold. And getting caught in the rain might give you chills, but not a fever. The weather does not directly cause sickness, but the symptoms can still leave you feeling under the weather.



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