Can snowfall freeze viruses to death?


Cold weather may make the flu virus more stable, just like frozen food lasts longer in the refrigerator. Also, when the weather gets colder, the blood flow in our noses will decrease, the secretions in the nasal cavity will be less, and the ability of nasal hairs to clean dirt in the nose will also become worse. This means that the virus is more likely to "settle down" in our upper respiratory tract.

When it snows, we usually feel that the air is cleaner and fresher, and there is less dust suspended in the air. But in fact, the relationship between suspended droplets in the air and the survival of viruses is not just about "settlement reducing viruses".

Although the particles are large and the amount of dust that we may see with the naked eye will decrease, studies have shown that suspended particles that are not visible to the naked eye are an important factor affecting the spread of the virus. If the suspended particles in the air are relatively small, the virus may float to a higher level and spread through the air flow over longer distances.

A Harvard Medical School study found that cold weather actually makes us more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections. Research points out that when pathogens enter the body through the nose, it triggers the nasal cavity to activate a special defense mechanism. This mechanism is like a little guard in our nose. When they detect a pathogen intrusion, they will quickly release a special kind of tiny bubbles (extracellular vesicles) that will surround and attack the bacteria.

Researchers also found that these bubbles not only directly attack pathogens, they can also transmit some special antibacterial proteins from the front to the back of the nose. When viruses or bacteria slip through the bubble network, they can A second layer of protection is provided by these proteins. However, when the ambient temperature drops and the temperature in the nose decreases, this protective mechanism will weaken, and the number of bubbles and anti-viral ability will decrease.

Snowfall itself does not directly reduce the occurrence of disease, but people may choose to stay indoors because of snow, thereby reducing contact with others and the frequency of going out, which may indirectly affect the spread of the virus. If it is true that snow can reduce the spread of diseases, there may be only one way, that is, some people stay home because of snowy days and do not have contact with outsiders.

If it is a blizzard or severe cold, the bad weather will force people to stay at home more and cut off all social life. For example, they will not go to work, go to school, go shopping, or go shopping. Reducing contact with the outside world will naturally reduce the risk of disease transmission. However, the opposite may be true.

We will not change our lifestyle because of a light snow or moderate snow. Instead, due to the inconvenience of outdoor activities, we will increase the amount of time we spend indoors in enclosed spaces. This situation happens to increase the chances of the virus remaining and spreading. What's more, in cold weather, people tend to ignore the importance of opening windows for ventilation, which increases the risk of viruses spreading in indoor spaces.

The methods for preventing the spread of respiratory diseases may be very old-fashioned, but they definitely work.

Wash your hands frequently: Wash your hands with soap and hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds, especially in public places, before and after eating, before touching your face, and after using the restroom;

Wear a mask: Wearing a mask in crowded places provides an extra layer of protection;

Immunizations: Did you get your flu shot this year? Have the elderly been vaccinated against pneumonia? Are the vaccinations required for the child regularly administered?

Don’t change your daily routine because of bad weather. A balanced diet, moderate exercise and adequate sleep are the keys to maintaining the normal functioning of our immune system.