Skip Nav
Class Fitsugar
Skip the Crunches in This Quick Standing Abs Workout
Beginner Fitness Tips
5 Reasons Working Out at Night Will Change Your Life
Cardio Workouts
No Matter What Your Mood, We Have a Treadmill Workout For You

DrSugar Answers: Weather and Colds

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
I have a friend who lives in the warm suburb of Fairfield, CA, and commutes to foggier, colder San Francisco every day. She is wondering if the daily climate switch from hot and dry weather to the foggy cold is making her sick, or at least more vulnerable to cold and flu? I am curious too. Is it a myth?
– Friend of Sniffles

To see what DrSugar has to say about the connection between abrupt and drastic changes in the weather and the common cold,


It is a common misconception that cold weather can cause the common cold or flu. The common cold is caused by a virus and has never been shown to be related to exposure to cold weather or wet weather. The idea that cold weather itself leads to colds is likely related to the observation that people get viral illnesses more often in the Winter. Health officials and epidemiologists believe that viral illnesses are more common in the Winter because they are highly contagious and people are often in closer indoor contact in the Winter months. When you were young Dr. Mom always said, “Put on a sweater or you’ll catch a cold.” She would have been more correct to say, “Don’t go to school or you’ll catch a cold.” Wouldn't that have been great?

The temperature difference between the warmer, dryer climate of Fairfield and foggy Summers of San Francisco is unlikely to have anything to do with her increasing frequency of illness. However, there are a number of other factors that could contribute to her getting sick more often. If this is a new job in the city, it could be related to new exposure to large groups of people in close quarters, i.e. an office environment. Also, new jobs and long commutes can increase stress levels, which can weaken the immune system. The other possibility is that she is allergic to molds or pollens in San Francisco that are less prevalent in her home city. In summary, there could be a number of things making her sick more often, but that actual climate change is an unlikely culprit.

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
What about the change in barometric pressure and its effect on the sinuses? My boyfriend doesn't get sick per se, but every time the weather changes he gets sinus pressure, headaches, and either runny or stuffed up nose.
FluMist Nasal Flu Vaccine Will No Longer Be Administered
Tips For Weekend Cold Prevention
What to Do When You Miss Taking a Birth Control Pill
When Is a Fever Too High?
Cold and Flu Accessories, Tissue Boxes, Pill Boxes, Carafes, Teapots
What Does It Mean to Lose Water Weight?
What Will Happen to My Body When I Stop Taking Birth Control Pills?
Men More Likely to Catch Colds Due to Workplace Stress
Casa Quickie: Eco-Color Theory
How to Prevent Catching a Cold
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds