Why is it that sore throats
seem to occur more frequently in the cooler months? While it might seem logical to blame the cold weather itself, this isn’t actually the case. Colder temperatures do not actually increase our susceptibility to winter ailments that may cause sore throats or sniffles but our behaviour in colder temperatures certainly might.
- Staying indoors – When it’s cold outside, we tend to spend more time indoors and in closer proximity with one another, which increases our susceptibility to catching winter bugs and developing symptoms like sore throats.
- Exposure to dry air – Staying indoors also exposes us to dry air, especially in buildings that are overheated in winter, which can make our throat feel rough and sore.1
- Lack of activity – As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it is very likely that we’ll hang up our exercise gear and hibernate. Unfortunately this may have adverse effects on our immune defences. Researchers have discovered that people who are physically active are less likely to catch common winter ailments and symptoms will be less severe if they do.2
- Less consumption of fruit and vegies – Only 6% of Australian adults get their recommended servings of fruit and veg each day3, and are probably even less likely to achieve this in winter, when we tend to make less than healthy food choices. Fruit and vegetables are important sources of nutrients and antioxidants that may help support our immune system and defend against winter gripes like sore throats.
- Travel – Many of us take the opportunity to escape the cold weather and travel to a warmer destination in winter. Unfortunately being stuck in a plane for many hours opens up opportunities for sore throats to develop as everyone is crowded together. In addition to the perfect conditions, the dry air may also irritate the lining of our nose or throat, and we generally feel less inclined to drink water when the line for the bathroom is so long.