“Did you get your flu shot?” If your friends are anything like mine, you heard this question at least a dozen times before Thanksgiving. You probably got your fair share of disdainful looks too, if you answered “No.” But why are we worried about getting the flu shot now and not in May? Why is there a flu season at all? After all, what does a virus living in a host who provides a dependable, cozy incubation chamber of 98°F, care whether it is freezing and snowy outside or warm and sunny? This question has bothered people for a long time, but only recently have we begun to understand the answer.

What is the Flu?

In order to discuss why we have a flu season, we must first understand what the flu is. The flu, also called influenza, is a viral respiratory illness. A virus is a microscopic infectious agent that invades the cells of your body and makes you sick. The flu is often confused with another virus, the common cold, because of the similarity in symptoms, which can include a cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose. However, flu symptoms also include fever, cold sweats, aches throughout the body, headache, exhaustion, and even some gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea (1).

The flu is highly contagious. Adults are able to spread the virus one day prior to the appearance of symptoms and up to seven days after symptoms begin. Influenza is typically spread via the coughs and sneezes of an infected person (1). Around 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year because of the flu, and of these people, about 36,000 die.  The flu is most serious for the elderly, the very young, or people who have a weakened immune system (1).

The Flu Season

The flu season in the U.S. can begin as early as October, but usually does not get into full swing until December. The season generally reaches its peak in February and ends in March (2). In the southern hemisphere, however, where winter comes during our summer months, the flu season falls between June and September. In other words, wherever there is winter, there is flu (3). In fact, even its name, “influenza” may be a reference to its original Italian name, influenza di freddo, meaning “influence of the cold” (4).

A common misconception is that the flu is caused by cold temperatures. However, the influenza virus is necessary to have the flu, so cold temperatures can only be a contributing factor. In fact, some people have argued that it is not cold temperatures that make the flu more common in the winter. Rather, they attest that the lack of sunlight or the different lifestyles people lead in winter months are the primary contributing factors. Here are the most popular theories about why the flu strikes in winter:

1) During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, so they are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and thus contract the virus (3).

2) Days are shorter during the winter, and lack of sunlight leads to  low levels of vitamin D and melatonin, both of which require sunlight for their generation. This compromises our immune systems, which in turn decreases ability to fight the virus (3).

3) The influenza virus may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore be able to infect more people (3).

 The Flu Likes Cold, Dry Weather

For many years, it was impossible to test these hypotheses, since most lab animals do not catch the flu like humans do, and using humans as test subjects for this sort of thing is generally frowned upon. Around 2007, however, a researcher named Dr. Peter Palese found a peculiar comment in an old paper published after the 1918 flu pandemic: the author of the 1919 paper stated that upon the arrival of the flu virus to Camp Cody in New Mexico, the guinea pigs in the lab began to get sick and die (4). Palese tried infecting a few guinea pigs with influenza, and sure enough, the guinea pigs got sick. Importantly, not only did the guinea pigs exhibit flu symptoms when they were inoculated by Palese, but the virus was transmitted from one guinea pig to another (4).

Now that Palese had a model organism, he was able to begin experiments to get to the bottom of the flu season. He decided to first test whether or not the flu is transmitted better in a cold, dry climate than a warm, humid one. To test this, Palese infected batches of guinea pigs and placed them in cages adjacent to uninfected guinea pigs to allow the virus to spread from one cage to the other. The pairs of guinea pig cages were kept at varying temperatures (41°F, 68°F, and 86°F) and humidity (20%-80%). Palese found that the virus was transmitted better at low temperatures and low humidity than at high temperatures and high humidity (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 ~ Experimental Setup. Guinea pigs were housed in adjacent cages. Guinea pigs in cage 1 were infected by Palese with influenza. Palese observed how many guinea pigs in cage 2 became infected from the guinea pigs in cage 1 at different temperatures and levels of humidity. B, C) Transmission rates were 100% at low humidity, regardless of temperature. At high humidity, transmission occurred only at the lower temperature. 

However, Palese’s initial experiment did not explain why the virus was transmitted best at cooler temperatures and low humidity. Palese tested the immune systems of the animals to find out if the immune system functions poorly at low temperatures and low humidity, but he found no difference in innate immunity among the guinea pigs (5). A paper from the 1960s may provide an alternate explanation. The study tested the survival time of different viruses (i.e. the amount of time the virus remains viable and capable of causing disease) at contrasting temperatures and levels of humidity. The results from the study suggest that influenza actually survives longer at low humidity and low temperatures. At 43°F with very low humidity, most of the virus was able to survive more than 23 hours, whereas at high humidity and a temperature of 90°F, survival was diminished at even one hour into incubation (3).

The data from these studies are supported by a third study that reports higher numbers of flu infections the month after a very dry period (6). In case you’re wondering, this is only the case in places that experience winter. In warmer climates, oddly enough, flu infection rates are correlated most closely with high humidity and lots of rain (6). Unfortunately, not much research has been done to explain these contradictory results, so it’s unclear why the flu behaves so differently in disparate environments. This emphasizes the need for continued influenza research. Therefore, we can conclude that, at least in regions that have a winter season, the influenza virus survives longer in cold, dry air, so it has a greater chance of infecting another person.

Although other factors probably contribute as well, the main reason we have a flu season may simply be that the influenza virus is happier in cold, dry weather and thus better able to invade our bodies. So, as the temperature and humidity keep dropping, your best bet for warding off this nasty bug is to get your flu shot ASAP, stay warm, and invest in a humidifier.

Hannah Foster is a PhD candidate in the Molecules, Cells, and Organisms program at Harvard University. 

For more information about the flu, check out this video:

References

1) Medical News Today. What is flu? What is influenza? What are the symptoms of flu? < >[2 November, 2014]

2) Centers for Disease Control. The Flu Season. <http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm> [2 November, 2014]

3) Elert, E. 2013. FYI: Why is There a Winter Flu Season? Popular Science.  <http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-01/fyi-why-winter-flu-season> [2 November, 2014]

4) Kolata, G. 2007. Study Shows Why the Flu Likes Winter. New York Times. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/health/research/05flu.html?_r=1&> [2 November, 2014]

5) Lowen, A.C., S. Mubareka, J. Steel, and P. Palese. 2007. Influenza Virus Transmission Is Dependent on Relative Humidity and Temperature. PLOS Pathogens. 3(10):e151.

6) Roos, R. 2013. Study: Flu likes weather cold and dry or humid and rainy. University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. <http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2013/03/study-flu-likes-weather-cold-and-dry-or-humid-and-rainy> [14 November, 2014]

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151 thoughts on “The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter

  1. thank you for interesting article. Please can you be more specific, in the graphics (and text) you do not specify if it is relative or absolute humidity. However, since expressed in % one may assume it is relative humidity. On the basis that the absolute humidity is important to organism, then lower temperature means lower absolute humidity at given relative humidity. Otherwise put, lower temperatures are MUCH drier than warm at same relative humidity. The temperature being colder accentuates the humidity effect. Thank you for contact by email with any useful publications.
    regards, n

      1. No mention of any research of mosquitos spreading the flu for thousands of years…not even a comment on it. Interesting considering they have been spreading many virus for ever.

      2. The “Sweet Spot” of temperature and humidity favoring the influenza virus is cold enough to preserve its surface and spike proteins and persistence of mist. Hydrophilic amino acid sequences denature more rapidly at elevated temperature and aerosol droplets evaporate more quickly at dry relative humidity. A few point close to a cool temperature favors the longevity of the virus and the vehicle of the most the transmits the contagion. Low temperature with a slightly lower dew point (by one to ten degrees Celsius) creates a high relative humidity and temperature stabilized virus to exponentially increase the probability of influenza transmission and infection.

        1. Spell correction is a problem. – Change “Few” to “Dew” in moisture references of DEW POINT”, the is the temperature at which water at a vapor pressure will condense as water or ice.

          1. And in line 3 change “vehicle of the most the transmits” to “vehicle of the mist that transmits”?

    1. Reading this article has provided me with some much need insight that I can share with patients, co-workers, family and friends. Thanks so much!

      1. Relative Humidity is an important measure when determining if contrails will form and persist.
        Of if fog will form soon.

  2. I think that in Russia (looking and watching what is gaoing on, mosto people are ill, doctors can’t say that the desease is what) the virus is spread by our Government to male the sales of drugstores. I think that it is the imune system that is working. I don’t get used to the tablets and was cured by berries and the same in the childhood. I was surrounded by virused people including my mom but there’s no virus in me.

  3. The common cold is a man-made virus which is released every year into the populous around Autumn time in various heavily populated major towns around the world. The untold truth is that this is a way of governments to control the ever aging and growing population of the world. I have personal evidence of dealing with the secret organisation that is responsible for population control. The proof is out their in-front of everyone’s eyes in black and white, I mean come on how is it that everyone seems to get the flu or colds in winter???? think about it! there’s more chance you’ll kick the bucket due to colder weather, therefore yielding a higher mortality success rate. Its a cruel world but the truth needs to be told!

    1. How did people get colds before we had the technology to manipulate DNA? How did people get colds in the 1800s? In the 1700s?

      1. In the 1500’s the spanish conquistadors brought the virus that causes smallpox to the Aztecs and wiped them out.

        From PBS:
        The ability of smallpox to incapacitate and decimate populations made it an attractive agent for biological warfare. In the 18th century, the British tried to infect Native American populations. One commander wrote, “We gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.”

    2. Id like to see the proof of this. I’m not saying that you are wrong about that. Our government misleads us all the time. I bet you are a believer in aliens also. I know I am a believer. I’ve seen them.

    3. So when your mother would say, “put on a winter coat you might catch a cold” she had the wrong assumption? At least you didn’t get hypothermia.

      On a side note I remember watching a story on tv of a man who lived isolated in the woods of Maine in a homemade tent for many years and after being found he reported never getting sick even throughout the brutal winters. It might help prove that it’s not the cold temp that gets you sick, but just contact with people who spread the virus.

      However when the majority of people are in close contact this is interesting to consider that the virus spreads more easily in colder drier air! Some comments disagree with this because in Florida they apparently have a bad flu season. However don’t forget that FL is probably still the number one vacation destination in the world (Disney) and when do many people travel there – from the north during flu season!

      1. In that scenario, the more logical assumption is that it has a lot to do with not being in contact with other people. It’s mainly an airborne transmitted infection spread via droplets from cough, sneeze, etc. But even if infected from physical contact, the virus can only survive so long on surfaces outside the body. So if you’re isolated during flu season, I can’t imagine how you’d catch it.

      2. Your mother was right. Just because a virus is present doesn’t mean you’ll catch it. Protecting yourself from cold means the virus doesn’t have ready-made access to your system. The warmer you are, the less able a virus will enter your body.

        1. I assure you the Flu thoroughly enjoys playing in your nice warm 98.6F body. Give it a pathway and it will happily slip in there and have a party. And it doesn’t really matter what the season is either. If you come in contact with just ONE viable specimen that came from God knows where, then you get infected. That’s how people get the Flu in the Hot Humid Summer. It hitches a ride with a carrier and you pick it up because you thought you were safe in the Summer. Sorry, but the Flu is active all year long. There’s just a higher risk of transmission when more people are gathered together under lower humidity conditions, that’s all.

          1. @TimS is the assumption that because no true absolute recovery occurs for all flu infected persons there is a perpetual spread of flu? I read this article because it seemed to me that essentially there should be a time that the flu is nonexistent. There should be a day where everyone in any given year has either had, been immune to, or not had the flu. On that day, the flu should cease to exist. The most insightful information in the article for me was not fully explored. That global travel does not allow there to be a day like that because some group of people in the opposite hemisphere are experiencing a flu outbreak and they spread it. It certainly seems obvious to me based on this article and the relatively short period for viral viability that if we restricted travel for people experiencing flu or its symptoms for the viability it would die out. No one can say its too hard to do now. Goverments had gone to extremes to keep people isolated to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For instance, if this research is true and population is not being manipulated then there should not be any more flu. It should literally die out. If a person is sick with flu (somehow) at the end of this global quarantine period, then they should be treated with the same care (level of PPE for hazmat) as COVID-19. That would significantly reduce the spread of that person’s viral load. Someone tell me why I’m wrong. PLEASE.

          2. So, you’re saying that when I got the Flu in 2016 that all my family that I came in contact with (which was at least: two 65+ year olds, my 60 year old mother who was dying of cancer, a 30 year old, a 2 year old and a 6 month old baby–both of whom had only mother’s immunity to protect them since they never went to daycare or got vaxxed) contracted the virus? Yet none of those aforementioned people got sick at all. I have never in my life had a flu shot and the last time i had flu before 2016 was so long ago i cannot tell you–probably 15 or more years. Yeah….I’m gonna call BS on your “theory.” sorry. I don’t think Every One i came in contact with contracted the flu. Where does this magical flu spring out from every “flu season” anyway? hmmm. interesting. Even the article is clear that the tests were contradictory and therefore inconclusive, needing further research. Yet Timmy here has all the answers. LOL.

      3. Regarding Florida virus deaths in warm, moist weather. It’s partly the migrations from the north to Disney. But also consider the much older population of older retirees. Many have less effective or compromised immune systems.
        ..

        1. To @tims. There doesn’t seem to be a time when everybody has been exposed to the flu. Thus there is year round infection. it is just significantly more quiescence in warm weather with less spreading. There is also viral genetic change constantly occurring so that even though you got the flu this year, you may get it next year as your immune system may not recognize it.

      4. > a man who lived isolated in the woods of Maine in a homemade tent for many years and after being found he reported never getting sick even throughout the brutal winters. It might help prove that it’s not the cold temp that gets you sick, but just contact with people who spread the virus.

        No it doesn’t prove anything. We already know that viruses exist and they spread by contacts, so it’s not surprising the man never got sick. But it doesn’t mean that cold doesn’t make it easier for them to spread.

        1. You are aware that its called germ “theory” for a reason right? its not a proven fact, its a theory. You don’t know anything. You are probably not a virologist, immunologist or even a doctor for that matter. Not all doctors agree on theories. Almost every single major breakthrough in Medicine or Science has not come from the people who thought exactly like everyone else and followed the herd. It came from those who defied long-held beliefs and dared to oppose popular opinion. Most were thought of as crazy. Yet here we are….. I’m so glad people could think for themselves once upon a time.

      1. Intelligence isn’t the same as grammar proficiency. I’m a professional writer, and I make mistakes. Intellectual snobbery has held society back from a lot of great discoveries and advancements. If your mind is not open to learning because of your inability to see past grammatical errors, then isn’t your intellect the problem (and anyone who has the same issue)?

    4. I have wondered if UVB tends to destroy cold and flu viruses. Near sea level UVB becomes significant when the sun is more than about 45 degrees above the horizon.

    5. The coment bellow totally killed yours. In the past do you also believe the spanish government created influenza?

    6. First sentence. You’re incorrect. Virus starts with and emanates (comes) from) other than humans. Usually, animals or mutations of other less harmful viruses
      Populace. The rest of your belief is typical modern day paranoia with no basis in facts. For example, this secret organization for population control must have a reduced number in mind. So, why is the world population still increasing despite many, many decades of flu of all types? Are they based in Area 51 or Atlantis? Autumn time = autumn. Way for, not of. Their s/b there. Oh, the flu grows far better in cold, dry weather. That’s why your secret organization releases it in the winter. Relax. Read some actual science while drinking down a zinc pill with some orange juice.

    7. I agree, I knew this back in the 1950’s most people knew it. Anyway , you can kill this virus with heat. watch youtube.( Conquering Covid-19) Also be taking vitamin C and Zinc. Eat good, lots of veggies, fruit. no sugar or flour. Keep immune system up. Follow all the other things, washing hands etc.
      My grandmother who was part native American would wrap us in a wool blanket after giving us a hot toddy and mineral oil when we got the flu or pneumonia. We would be over it in a day or two. Disease starts in the gut. Keep those intestines in good shape.

      1. Native Americans died just like all the rest of us, only usually at a younger age. There was nothing “magic” in their cures or preventative measures. Some survived for a whIle but all ultimately died. Just like anyone else.

  4. Please do explain whether in warmer cities in the USA – for example, Los Angeles, San Diego – people suffer fewer colds than, say, in New York City, Boston, etc. during the winter months. And, are there any places in the world where people almost never catch colds and/or the flu? What about parts of the world where the flu is much more common than the rest of the world? Thank you very much.

      1. I think the flu/colds are spread more easily where there are lots of people in closed, confined spaces (major metropolitan areas) because it can more easily spread from one person to another! Plus, people’s immune systems differ depending maybe on genetics!

      2. because that is the capitol of satan. why would he want to spread disease where all his core employees rest?

      3. I know this is long past when you sent it, but it makes sense when southern Californians can be outside more with more open air. Thank you for sounding intelligent and guiding people towards facts!

  5. Are colds and the flu as common in San Francisco, CA (relatively milder climate most of the year) as in New York City (relatively much colder in the winter months, but somewhat warm/hot and humid in summer compared to San Francisco)? Thank you very much.

  6. i would like to address your hypothesis that the reduced hours of sunlight during the winter negatively affect people and could contribute to flu transmission.

    While there *are* fewer hours of sunlight during the winter, other factors also affect the manufacture of vitamin D and melatonin. First of all, during winter, the sunlight strikes higher latitudes at a much greater angle of incidence. Imagine that you are standing on the equator at noon on the spring or fall equinox. Imagine that the sunlight falling on you is a long tube of one foot radius connecting you to the surface of the Sun. The sunlight comes straight down, and hits the ground and shines on an area of pi square feet. The energy is very concentrated.

    But imagine instead that you are standing in Chicago, at 43ºN latitude on the winter solstice, when the Sun is directly overhead at a point 22.3ºS latitude. The sunlight falls on you at 64º off from straight overhead. The formula for the area of an ellipse formed by cutting a cylinder of radius r at angle α is A = pi * r^2/ sin(α). For a cylinder of 1 foot and an angle of 64º, this gives us an area of 1.11 square feet, for an 11% increase in area or a 12% decrease in energy because it is spread over that increased area.

    All of this assumes that you are spending just as much time outside, which of course is generally not true. In the summer your typical cubicle worker is eager to spend the weekend outside if the weather is nice. In the winter, even if it is sunny, the average person won’t spend all day at the beach when it’s 10ºF. Plus, in the winter, even if you are outside, you are bundled up. At 10ºF, a person outside will wear clothing over all of their body except maybe their face. This is entirely different from the clothing worn when it’s 80ºf outside, in which 50-90% of the body is uncovered.

    In short, it is not just the hours of sunlight available that are reduced in the winter.

    1. In winter we wear a lot more clothing and absorb far less sun light on our person. I think the changes in clothing may have a larger affect than the reduced hours of sunlight.

  7. In our state (Queensland, Australia), the tropical part (Cairns, Townsville etc.) gets ‘flu at the time as the sub-tropics (Brisbane etc.) and plenty. There is certainly no shortage of ultraviolet light in Cairns in the Winter, and the temperature rarely falls below 20C, even at night (26-30 during the day). Seems to me there must be some other explanation than climate factors (temperature or humidity). It astounds me that we still haven’t figured this out!

    1. From the figures, it looks like the humidity decides the transmission of the virus. Brisbane in my impression is not so humid enough, although not cold. In most area, the hotter, the more humid, but not the case for Brisbane.

  8. I’ve never had flu, touch wood.. But every time I get a cold, I immediately know as I feel a certain tickle sensation in one of my nostrils that is different to anything else. I know instantly when a cold has ‘landed.’ However, If I’m lucky enough to have tiger balm on me, (which I use for headaches) and I place the tiger balm on the spot inside the nostril, the cold never lasts more than one day. If I don’t do this, (no tiger balm available at the right moment) I’m in for the long haul.. Can you tell me why this might work. I’m not scientific in any way, lol..

    1. I get the exact same “tickle” feeling! Oddly, it’s only been in the past few years I’ve noticed this. If you start taking vitamin C every two hours at the slightest hint (sneeze, throat scratchiness, the tickle in the nose etc) – 500-1000 mg for an adult , and/or drink an antiviral herb tea (1 tbsp per 1 cup using thyme, basil or oregano) 3-4 times a day, this can (and most often does, for me) push off whatever it is. I had to fight these viruses/colds/flu like 7-8 times this season. I have no idea why the season should be so drastically different than it has my entire life, but most seasons I might fight a cold/virus or flu ONCE the entire season. Unfortunately this last time I felt a slight sore throat and managed to fight it completely off of me…late in the 2nd successful day of having zero symptoms, I suddenly picked it up again prob from the air (my husband is sick as well). This time I’m managing to push it off but I ran out of vitamin C so it’s been a bit more stubborn . I honestly can’t help but think that our bodies are meant to have much higher levels of C regularly throughout the day than we normally get. I’m not sure about the tiger balm. I’m assuming it has oils in it ; do viruses need to “breathe”?

  9. we are being had big style……………. flu virus is spread by flu shot uptake and mist………….. every single year i get a weird fluey thing now ,and it all started when they started pushing flushot etc……………. its as clear as day to me……… when i was a child hardly anyone i knew got flu or even too many colds,,,now, ALL winter” every one” almost has some full affliction or some “weird” long lasting thing alike a cold but not or flu but not ( thats the manmade cr#p that was in the shots that the uptakers shed for 14 days or so) people take this shot at different weeks too ,so it goes around and stays quite a while now……………. i wholey doubt warmer climate has anything to do with it… and even in winter when temperatures can drop quite low, i have NEVER heard a Turk or Greek say thy had the flu??? and believe me i do know many and have stayed there alot in winter …………………….. all this silly research ….. waste of time and money.

    1. Although I might agree with you that the flu vaccine is a waste of time and money I might not agree for the same reasons. The 1918 flu that devastated the world was before flu vaccines. Even tho flu vaccines were in effect during the one in the 60’s, still quite a few deaths laid at influenza’s door. I don’t think the vaccine is the sole cause of the virus wreaking havoc as the incidences of havoc predate the vaccinations. I’d place my bets with this author here:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870528/

      1. Another factor was the war. In peace time there would have been better nutrition and perhaps quarantines if there were major outbreaks of illness.

      2. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed more people from ages 20 to 45 because that age group had BETTER immunity. It caused the body to overly attack it until it burned itself out. Older and younger have weaker immunity. I guess they could “ride the waves” better.

    2. YES YES AND YES I Believe the flu is being worsened as they make flu shots every year, They are the reason for the crazy mutations each year!! I too never have heard so many flu problems when i was a kid, NEVER Its getting worse as they go, big phama wanting to make sure we all get flu shots and put money in their overloaded pockets!! Not to mention the sale of Tamiflu I hate them all

    3. Flu has killed a lot of people long before we had flu shots though. That said, it’s possibke imo that it may increase the numbers of people getting sick since it actually GIVES them a small dose of flu virus. The stupid thing about it (imo) is that very often the flu that is going around naturally isn’t even the same version the flu shot is intended to protect against (build immunities for). So then we have multiple types of flus gong around at the same time. I refuse to get flu shots. I have gotten the flu maybe twice in my life, the first as a child and the latest I caught from my husband who works in a large building with tons of exposure to these germs flying about. I honestly think the flu shot is probably doing more harm than good. This season (2018) we have heard of not just the elderly, very young and immune compromised being killed by these nasty viruses, but healthy young adults as well. One Dr said he had never seen a virus replicate so fast ! It killed a fairly young healthy woman within , I believe it was 24-48 hours. She was not an isolated case. Also some have been fighting one infection, only to contract another at the exact same time …so their immune system can’t keep up. It does seem to be getting much worse.

    4. I do tend to get the flu every time I get a flu shot. I don’t get the flu when I don’t get the shot. I sometimes get a cold and its in the winter usually. I have had a cold in the fall or spring. I have not had one in the summer.

  10. Flu shots are BS. The human body can cure it’s self . We are supposed to build immunities to these viruses. Not inject ourselves with last year’s viruses. I have not had the flu in over 20 years and that was when I stopped getting the shot. I probably only had the flu shot 3 times in my life. My mom didn’t make me get it either. I got it a few times when a doctor told me that it was important. No more, no way. No one in my household gets it and none of us get the flu.

    1. Well, that settles it, then. Scheetz has spoken. Forget what all these silly “scientists” have to say. Anecdotal evidence by The Ms. Jennifer Scheetz? Etch it in stone!

      1. Your sacrcastic comment was uncalled for. She was only trying to help expose the truth about the flu shots! I too have never had the flu shot in a very long time, and it did not harm me one bit!

      2. I actually agree with her.
        The flu shot gives a person the virus in a small dose with the intent of building immunity. The problem is that they can guarantee that it will be the SAME flu going around that immunities protects against . This season there were multiple types of flu, including a version that transmits between humans and animals.

        I have NEVER gotten a flu shot and I have had the flu only twice in my entire life.

        You do realize that science and scientists are not perfect in their understanding right? Do you also realize that there are people who benefit monetarily from flu shots that “might” protect you from the flu. And actually, peoples experience tell us that many people get full blown cases of flu FROM taking the flu shot.

        And btw, regardless of your opinion, there is no call for being an ass just because you disagree with someone

    2. A lot of people have died. At least 75% have not had flu shots versus 25% who had a shot. This is amount reported in the DFW area.

      1. Please get your facts straight. The CDC counts any and all pneumonia deaths in those >65 in their MMWR stats on flu death. Scare tactics work to spread an agenda of increased profits for government/ Big Pharma. Please educate yourself on the influenza vaccine before you blindly jump on a bandwagon preventing anyone and everyone who disagrees with you the autonomy of declining to have what they view as poison shot into their bodies. I wonder how much women in the workforce (of which I am one) has contributed to the perceived “need” to prevent self limiting childhood illness that confer natural lifelong immunity. We have had numerous mumps outbreaks amid college students WHO HAVE BEEN IMMUNIZED in their youth….seems to be a false sense of security until kids reach an age where benign illness suffered as a child, contracted as an adult can either kill you or make you infertile…..hmmm, efficacious?? For whom?

    3. Look, if I don’t get a Flu shot every year, I’m sick in bed for 2 weeks. Never fails. If I get a shot, I might get a minor cold with a sour throat for a day or 2 and it’s gone Nothing if foolproof. I’ll take what never helps.

  11. Unfortunately this doesn’t explain why tempered climate areas can have severe out breaks. Such as recently in California where they may have lower humidity but relatively warm temperatures. The South also has big out breaks in Florida where you have higher humidity and temperatures. Maybe as with other living species bacteria as we know it can adapt and survive in all climates even in space as we have now discovered. This may also be a reason why flu shots can be varied significantly in their effectiveness. This year Canada reported the flu shot effectiveness was at 17%. This is hardly a great statistic and explains people’s lack of confidence in the shot. I think the better solution is to prevent spread by immediately isolating people who have signs of the flu. Even someone with the flu that shows up for work or school can spread the bacteria quickly. Too many trying to tough it out and stay working or parents pushing sick kids out the door is contributing to the spread.

    1. I agree! Keep people segregated until they’re not infectious. If it’s killing people and you’ve got it then stay away from others while you’re sick. People with AIDS aren’t allowed to give it to others without consequences, so why would ppl who knowingly have the flu be allowed to go into public without consequences?

      1. I think you missed the last California law on that one. It’s actually more offensive to get someone’s gender wrong, than knowingly transmitting HIV to someone else…

    2. It doesn’t help that in spite of employers saying they want employees to stay home while sick so as not to spread the virus, flu can be contagious for…what, 7 days from the time it’s contracted (and one day before symptoms show up ) …and most employers might be ok with an employee taking one or two days off but God help you if you want to take a full 7 days in order to protect others & prevent it spreading.

      The truth is that people can’t afford to stay home without pay for a week (some viruses can take TWO full weeks before the person is no legal beer contagious) AND employers are not really willing to let them even if they could. It’s unfortunate, but the way our society is, these viruses are just going to keep spreading and killing people every winter. It’s shocking really when we realize that 35-36,000 people DIE every year from the Flu – especially when we realize it could be prevented. I hate to say it, but it would probably be best if the vast majority of people worked from home in winter – I know, not really feasible. Too bad we couldn’t do that and stock up for enough food supples to last the winter.

    3. This is from the CDC. People, please read facts not conspiracy theories!! Big pharmaceutical companies suck, absolutely 99%. However, some of the theories posted here are just completely ridiculous.

      Can a flu vaccine give you the flu?
      No, flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle (i.e., flu shots) are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ (killed) and that therefore are not infectious, or b) using only a single gene from a flu virus (as opposed to the full virus) in order to produce an immune response without causing infection. This is the case for recombinant influenza vaccines.

      1. This is the truth. Many people don’t like the truth. They prefer a load of rubbish about conspiracy theories etc.

        Keep on telling the truth though. People like me prefer it!

  12. Pondering the thought. What if I was a flu virus? I would live everywhere, yet when conditions are not favorable to me, I would find a home and maybe even procreate while I am there. Conditions will improve and we can move out into the world till next year.
    The point of this is to realize, that the conditions of the human body are needed for simple survival. There are factors that the human race are not able to control yet. The virus simply does the same as we do under the same conditions. Simple evolution. It goes as far as to explain how a virus will evolve into different strains. Be very careful, any form of life is capable of this.

  13. I stopped getting the cold and flu since i stopped getting a flu jab 2 years ago….
    Also stopped drinking tap water….. unless it was boiled over….
    As a professional person in the business industry I can testify if there was no flu and other similar illnesses that were man made then the pharmacutical industry would of collapsed along time ago….
    KEEP THAT IN MIND

  14. Very interesting comments everyone! I completely agree that people get the virus from other people primarily, but I have always wondered how that very first person gets it every year to start infecting everybody else? Considering that the virus requires a host to survive and it dies if it is not inside a body, it should be erradicated every year once people either recover from the flu or die from it. Where is the virus hiding in the meantime? in animals? flying around? maybe in some labs that we do not know about?
    I do believe the virus is planted… I do not know by who or what, but every year is planted, and sometimes there are new kinds like H1N1 that are worse than others. The rationale behind my belief is that a very close friend had a chance to be at a meeting where a major transportation company presented to the company he worked for (pharma) about their great abilities to distribute medications in pandemic cases. They were so proud to say that a big pharma company contacted them to be prepared because they knew a pandemic case was coming very soon and they needed to distribute their antiviral when it hit. The executive said to them: when they called us as H1N1 started to spread we had all of the distribution network to distribute their medication worldwide and we did it very well, so you can rely on us for your own medications. Not only him but the entire group was shocked to hear what this gentleman had just said.
    The obligated question is how that big pharma company knew that H1N1 was coming and that it was going to become a pandemic case? Not surprisingly the antiviral reached about $6B dollars in sales that year and since governments started to pile up the medication it has reached about $18B. I just can imagine the great bonuses that executives must have received and many medals to hang as well, but I really hope that whoever created and planted that virus cannot sleep well at night just thinking of the order of magnitude that such action created in the global population, and if they do, then shame on them.
    Regarding the flu shot, I have had it once many years ago, and that year I got violently ill 4 times in that season. Any other year I usually get sick once but usually it is pretty mild thankfully. Coindicence? Maybe, but maybe not.
    When I used to commute to work using public transit I used to get more sick than other years when I commuted by car or worked from home. But yet again, how does the first case of influenza start every year? If somebody knows please share that light with the rest of us or maybe we should ask that big pharma company to share their magic ball with us.

  15. Hey Stig, you should go back read the article again. The viruses never die, flu seasons vary on different parts of the earth, i.e. flu season is Dec – Mar in the northern hemisphere and June -Sept in the southern hemisphere. The viruses simply move from person to person all year round, mutating along the way and propagate when the conditions are right in different areas. Someone on earth has the virus every day of the year. The other thing to consider is that as the population of the earth continues to grow and people travel all over the world on a daily basis, the chances of coming into contact with an infected person continue to rise significantly. Your hypothesis that viruses are planted every year is silly. It if that were so, how do you explain flu outbreaks hundreds of years ago before we had the understanding or technology to culture and spread viruses? Or the pharmaceutical companies to profit from treating the ill?

  16. I know it sounds stupid, but the lack of fresh air during the winter? Windows closed 24 hours a day? Well I believe the air becomes toxic. I always leave my window open a crack even at 20 degrees. I got the flu this past summer and I think it was I was exposed to someone that was ill. And where they live windows were shut and air conditioning blasting. My point is I think people get sick in the winter cause they are breathing filtered air from the source of heat. Recycled air is what I call it, cause no fresh air is getting in. Same in the summer were breathing recycled air. My advice if someone in the home gets the flu. Take them somewhere to stay a few hours. And deep clean the entire home with the windows cracked open. And after that just keep at least one window cracked open slightly. Oh I also put all my silverware in boiling water then sanitize them in the dishwasher. Cups , bowls , plates also put in boiling water with a drop of bleach and a couple drops of dawn.

  17. Truthfully, all the viruses are tested and put out as a form of population control. However, some tend to mutate and get out of control. A lot of things go into the antibodies and the take billions of dollars to create. Besides the research and creating they have to have enough to administer. Think about the AIDS virus. They have always had a cure for it! It spread so fast and became an epidemic it is nearly impossible to cure all these people that have contracted it. I believe after a certain stage in the virus the antibody doesn’t help. A virus doesn’t die, it just becomes dormant. Each virus is triggered by something. I believe that the viruses injected in our bodies through childhood vaccinations are still there just haven’t been triggered by anything. Think about Shingles. You can only get it if you had chicken pox. It’s the mutated chicken pox virus. If my body is immune to the virus then how does it mutate into another virus 30+ yrs later? Shit weird if you ask me.

  18. Actually the guy who says CDC could realse it and also look how some side effect of vaccine are simmallr to illness supposed also humans have meddling with virures for 100 of years in third word countries heard phage therapy

  19. OR, the corruption of human kind and its evilness for wealth over health is the only reason that we are bombarded with these man made illnesses. The life line of the pharmaceutical empires relies upon human beings being constantly sick and poorly and manufacturing seasons of expected illness is a perfect way to manage production of vaccines and products in relieving symptoms Cures are these companies nightmare. Cure means no income. Why put food in a fridge, because is keeps illness away. Its not really rocket science although thats what these con artists wish you to believe it is. Poor un-intelligent people rely upon geniuses to sort it out rubbish. You are all being lied to, as usual. away.

  20. It’s so obvious. It’s the pharmaceutical company’s evil doing. Your health in exchange for their profit. And there’s nothing. I mean, not a shit you can do about it.

  21. My theory is that in warmer temperatures there are more bacteria and they kill the viruses but in colder temperatures, the bacteria die and viruses flourish.

  22. All ideas would be taken in consideration ,take my advice , when you go out to the open ,close your mouth and breath from your nose .

  23. How does the flu survive so long in your body if your body temp is around 100 degrees? Is it able to reproduce quickly?

  24. My bro-in-law would not get a flu shot because he believed that the government used them to inject tracking devices into the population. Imagine that distrust of the government. He believed that until the day he died from cancer caused by agent orange exposure in Vietnam.

  25. I suspect our nasal passages dry out and crack in the winter making us susceptible to flu infection. I’m prone to minor nose bleeds during very dry air. We have to put pots of water on the wood stoves to humidify the air.

  26. What if the guinea pigs behaved differently in cold temperatures, and this is what facilitated the spread? Call it the snuggle hypothesis.

  27. I was under the impression that the onset of the flu seasons is correlated with the seasonal bird migration patterns, triggering changes in the virus ecology in China and South East Asia, where advance flu monitoring is happening each year.

    1. Yes, but you’ll hardly find a ‘scientist’ who is willing to stick their neck out about where they seem to come from. This article appears to just treat the domestic scene, rather than the global one.

      But don’t take humans out of the picture entirely. We are now contributing by means of cheap global travel.

  28. I think humidity really has a role here in the spread of the virus. Here in the Philippines, we have a warm climate. right now the temp is 31C and RH is 53%. Actually the RH is not the right unit to measure because it varies with temperature. The Absolute humidity (or the actual water vapor in the air per cubic meter) should be the determinant. Based on my research and calculation, at these givens above, the Absolute humidity is 17g/ cubic meter. Based on the graph above, i have computed that at 41degF or 5degC, at 35% relative humidity, the absolute humidity is 2 grams/cubic meters which gives 100% transmission rate. While at 80% RH at the same temp, gives absolute humidity of 5 grams/cubic meters, giving 50% transmission rate. Now the temperature was increased to 68F or 20C. At 35% RH, the absolute humidity is 6grams/cubic meter, giving still a 100% transmission rate. Now at 80% RH for the same temp, the absolute humidity is 14 grams/cubic meter, giving 0% transmission rate. Now lets assume that we are targetting an ideal 14 grams/cubic meter and above ABSOLUTE HUMIDITY in any temperature or condition at whatever country just to be able to ward off this Corona Virus; then lets set our home temperature to 24 degrees Centigrade or 75.2C, therefore, we have to get an RH that 65%. So i suggest all homes should have an accurate Humidity and thermometer. If you’re RH shows less than 65%, then turn on the Humidifier, or Boil Water, or Turn on your shower until your RH goes 65% and above. I suggest the maximum should just be at 80% so as not to encourage molds at this given temperature (24degC). That’s it! I think we help solve it. Nothing to lose! Just try it! Im doing it now and share it to others 🙂

  29. It disappoints me that such a well written article would encourage getting mercury injections would help with the flu.
    Go to highwire.com with Del Bigtree and get true stars in how poorly the flu shot works. Do your home work on how good stomach bio is one of leading ways to strengthen your gut bio. Mercury kills it.
    I use to be pro vaxx till I finally did my own research off of government sites.
    The doctors the scientist the researchers and the parents I speak against vaccinations are not wrong. And if you look at the integrity of these people as opposed to the government they will win every time.

  30. After the flu season where does this shit go and how does it live until the next flu season? Supposedly it is only to live on a serves for few days!

  31. I didn’t see any comments that mention depression which may weaken your immune system and is more common in the winter.

  32. Where does Influenza go during the summer? Does it hide in cold places during the summer? Is it possible for us to kill this disease for good? Why do we have a cure for Ebola but not for Influenza?

  33. This makes no common sense that a virus needs a warm, moist atmosphere to survive. But winter is when people get the flu virus. Spring and Summer bring warm temperatures and high humidity in the Southern States. So, the flu virus would be more prevalent during these times if the original premise was true.
    The fact that this article gives three “theories” tells me that something is fishy when the science doesn’t agree with the facts of what we experience. I firmly believe it is the medical science researchers ommunity that invents these new viruses every year and turns them loose on the nations for enormous profits for doctors, pharmacies, pharma mfgs., retailers and of course the million dollar babies, the hospitals!

  34. If a person’s comment has no logic to it, just don’t respond. Then maybe, the trolls will thin out & perhaps disappear.

  35. Has anyone tried to model what effect social isolation imposed for COVID-19 would have on this year and next year’s flu seasons?
    I’m assuming it requires a certain number of individuals infected to be passing it on from hemisphere to hemisphere in order to mutate and attack us again next year. That would surely be interrupted by widespread shutdowns and social isolation going on, one would think….

  36. Has anyone projected what effect COVID-19 shutdowns would have on this year’s and next year’s flu seasons? Is it reasonable to think what will stop COVID will also stop flu, and prevent it from finding enough hosts to infect and mutate in between our flu seasons? I’m hoping there’s a silver lining here.

  37. Bill duquaine hit it on the head with his statement that the cold allows the virus to enter our bodies when we are colder.
    This is a proven fact. The old saying that cold doesn’t cause a cold is not true. The rhinovirus or another virus may be laying dormant in your nose. Once the cold air lowers your internal nasal temperature you get signs and symptoms that you did not have before your body got cold. Your immune system could not defend the virus as well as when you were warm as the cold dry air led to vasoconstriction of the internal nose. Now, your immune system is impaired and the virus enters your body and replicates.
    The United States Army did a study on this to prove this theory.
    So, add this to the rationale in this article to understand why warm humid weather should give our government’s leaders credit for the control of the corona virus.
    Now, we have several factual reasons for viruses like influenza to be more contagious in the winter. Most likely the corona virus will follow this seasonal pattern. As the northern part of Italy and Iraq were much more affected than the southern parts of these countries.

  38. Bruh so many conspiracy theories. The vaccine does not give you the flu as @Jim said, and pharmaceutical companies do not make much money off flu jabs.

  39. You guys are dancing so close to the fire that you are burning. Consider this and if you agree, help get the word out.

    WHAT CAUSES AND STOPS THE SPREAD OF VIRUSES
    In 2007 Dr. Palese, Professor and Chair of Microbiology of the Icahn Medical School of Mt. Sinai, NY, discovered that viruses transmit 100% in low humidity. Low humidity is created in the winter months when our furnace heat dries our inside air. This heat dries our skin as well as our nasal passages, making them a perfect breeding ground for viruses. If you keep your nasal passages moist, you decrease the chance of infections attaching and multiplying in your nose and moving into your lungs. Monitor it closely during the winter months.

    How I Have Stopped My Viruses
    Due to my weakened immune system, I have studied various illnesses for many years and have found 14 activities that have effectively stopped my viruses. They are most effective if implemented at the first sign of symptoms or upon exposure. I can usually stop viruses by doing just a few of the activities below. Using several of the suggestions in 1-7 and all of the steps in 9-14 might prevent more severe viruses. Start them at the first sign of symptoms.

    Keep the Nasal Passages Moist (1-7)
    1. Take a brisk 20-min. walk outside, morning, and night.
    2. Open your bedroom windows to get fresh air in.
    3. Set your thermostat at 55° and dress to go skiing.
    4. Sniff water from your clean fingertips.
    5. Use a nasal saline spray; it’s not fun, but it works.
    6. Use a neti pot or a Navage.
    7. Run a humidifier.

    Stimulate Your Immune System (8-14)
    8. Gargle with a small amt. of Listerine, every hour on the hour of the first 4 days of symptoms.
    On the half hour, eat or drink small portions of the following items.
    9. hot tea
    10. orange, pineapple, grapefruit, or tomato pieces
    11. orange, pineapple, grapefruit, or tomato juices
    12. chicken noodle soup, canned is fine
    13. frozen lemonade concentrate into hot water & honey
    14. cinnamon twirls or rolls without the icing.

    Keep thinking!

  40. I always believed that the humidity keeps some of the air born virus down to the ground. I’ve always noticed on humid days we always get less dust particles float into our paint jobs at our auto body shop. In fact, some of the older painters used to hose down their paint booths to create humidity on dry days.

  41. I believe the reason that flu spreads more in dry air and colder temperatures (winter months) is because it’s easier for the influenza droplets to spread in dry air. When the air is humid it will way down the droplets and make it fall to the ground sooner. And to the person that never got sick from a virus, even after being exposed, you’re propably the carrier. My daughter of 14 never got a childhood disease but her brother did and he coughed in her face.

  42. Please comment on another (apparently not so popular theory) which I believe may agree with the guinea pig experiments as well: That cold dry weather dries out the mucinous surfaces in the nose leaving the virus with better access to infectable cells either due to cracks or due to lack of a sheet of protective mucus. Thank you.

  43. So where do people get infected? Outdoors or indoors? It would need the people to get in touch with each others outdoors, because even in winter the temperatures are kept high indoors. So using the public transport, go shopping etc should not lead to more flu infections, if the temperatures are high enough and given it is the direct influence of the temperature to the virus, no?

  44. Maybe there is a correlation between flu season and the NASA research (link at bottom) showing how wind moves dust from the Sahara to the Amazon mainly in Boreal Winter and Spring (i.e. maybe virus particles are carried by increased wind during that time, enabling a more rapid spread across greater distance than when relying purely on host mobility ).

    The NASA study also shows that the amount of dust transported has an inverse correlation to higher rainfall in the previous year – which seems to be in line with the third study you mention where flu infection is increased following dryer months in Winter climates.

    One possible explanation for increased flu infections after rain or high humidity in warm climates could be that air humidity affects the weight of dust particles (and so I assume virus particles as well) due to increased condensation and causes them to lose altitude, which could bring previously “out of range” particles into contact with humans, increasing infection. So in cold climates dryer air lightens particles, allowing the wind to carry them farther, which increases the spread of infection; and in warmer climates, humidity lowers high altitude particles, bringing them into contact with humans, and increasing the number of infections.

    Another factor could be that in Winter the average UV index is 1/6th of what it is in the Summer (using New York as an example), so maybe a lower percentage of virus particles survive inter host travel in Summer?

    Anyway, sorry, just some random thoughts. Link to NASA article below. Thanks. Nick.

    https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-satellite-reveals-how-much-saharan-dust-feeds-amazon-s-plants

  45. Have we got evidence that the infection rate is seasonal or is it the severity of symptoms (and deaths) that’s actually peaking in the winter? We could randomly test the population all year round to find out if there really is a seasonal variation in infections but it doesn’t really matter. What matters, and is undeniable, is that more people die of flu in the Winter. But why should we assume that the weather is affecting the virus when it’s likely affecting the hosts (us) to a greater degree? With Covid-19 we are at last randomly testing the population and it turns out many people have it with virtually no symptoms, so it may be that people in Summer have flu just as much but display far less severe symptoms – or none at all. Now that the stats show that darker skinned people in northern latitudes are more likely to die from Covid-19, I’m convinced that sunlight and Vitamin D are paramount in explaining seasonal variation of deaths from corona viruses.

  46. John Hunter (and others) are correct in their view that the mere description of virus infectivity as a function of temperature and humidity – though alas the only experimental data besides the observation of seasonality – need to be expanded by mechanisms that explain these infectivity data. As virus particles leave the infected bodythrough nose or mouth they are contained in a waterous solution with or without mucus. Once in the air, aerosols can be expected to evaporate the water leaving either completed dry viruses or viruses with shallow water coating (while large droplets tend to sink rapidly). In a superspreader event of a choir singing in a closed room, the former (aerosol) situation is to be expected. Here, it would be important to know if “wet” or “dry” viruses are more infective – both in the flu and the Corona virus situations. Have any experiments been performed or are there theoretical considerations?

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