Brace yourselves, for the cold season is coming! We all know too well that when the temperature drops we are in graver risk of getting sick. Common illnesses that can be treated by medicine for cough and cold is definitely rampant during the “Brrr-“months and the main suspect as to why the immune system weakens. With this, the birth of seasonal variation in our health occurs. That’s why oftentimes you start to feel … different … when the cold months of September to December rolls in.
Lots of things can happen when we get sick during the cold months, know more about it in this brief list:
According to research, our genes change their behavior seasonally, and that is why flu occurs on a seasonal basis. What happens is that our immune system genes are turned on and off on an annual cycle, in an attempt to prepare our bodies from health threats that can most likely arise at different times of the year. Recent studies have proven that during cold season, the immunity genes such as the white blood cells or the infection-fighting cells are more active than ever – proving that when the temperature drops, our body adjusts to the atmosphere.
Some countries don’t have winter technically speaking, and the cold season for them (including us in the Philippines) would mean the rainy days, hence their seasonal gene would rev up during these times. When the immune system gets in full defense mode it takes a toll on our bodies, because as they take position to defend us from illnesses, they actually become more likely to go awry and attack our own bodies. Our immune genes fight off infection because they control our immune cells. When this happens, they release a chemical that fights off negative invaders that attempt to get us sick. Swelling may occur due to the chemicals our immune genes release, hence the inflammation that can happen in our immune system.
Too much inflammation is dangerous – chronic inflammation could trigger damage throughout the body, causing conditions such as heart disease, type 1 diabetes and arthritis.
When it’s cold, it is presumed that we gain more weight than usual. This is because of the genes that are linked to the control of our metabolism. Each individual’s metabolism changes with the seasons too, meaning our metabolic rate slows down and our bodies burn less energy during the cold season. This was originally meant to help us survive during the winter when food is not as available as during the other seasons (since we’ll be able to conserve enough energy to sustain us for a while). On the other hand, it can also be bad for us because we now have access to a lot of food even during the cold season, and the weight gain could lead to unhealthy proportions.