By: Kate Vance, Corporate Communication Specialist at Atria Senior Living

Cold weather causes the flu.

You may have grown up being told to put a hat on to avoid catching the flu, but cold temperatures don’t cause the virus to spread. It’s actually humidity levels that affect flu season. The virus survives best in low humidity, and in North America, winter months generally see lower levels of humidity. 

We also tend to spend more time inside from October to February and there is less humidity indoors than outdoors. Using a portable humidifier in addition to frequent handwashing may help reduce your chances of getting the flu this season. Plus, humidifiers can help relieve congestion and coughs!

Having the flu is like having a really bad cold.

While it’s true that some flu and cold symptoms are similar (runny nose, sore throat, achiness), the flu also targets your lungs and if left untreated can lead to bronchitis, ear infection, pneumonia, and hospitalization. One of the strongest indicators of the flu is the sudden onset of symptoms. The common cold can develop gradually and cause several weeks of discomfort, but the flu will cause immediate illness. The best way to determine if you have the flu and not a cold is to know the FACTS:

You won’t get the flu if you got a flu shot.

Getting a flu shot is one of the best defenses against the flu, but it isn’t the only way you should protect yourself. The vaccine takes about two weeks to develop in the body and provide full protection. That means if you’re exposed to the virus during that window, you could still potentially get sick. Even if you get your flu shot, be sure to continue to frequently wash your hands, routinely disinfect surfaces, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

About the Series
The YPAL Get Healthy Blog Series, sponsored by Norton Healthcare, will focus on the health and well-being of our Louisville Young Professionals. This blog series will feature various young professional bloggers in our community sharing their stories on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles. Want to write a Get Healthy Blog Post? Email for details!