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Does a big temperature change make you sick? Doctor says 'not really'

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Since last Monday, temperatures in our area have jumped 60-70 degrees in some areas; a huge increase. Many with the sniffles wonder if those big changes make us sick. We asked Dr. Jesse Hsieh with the South Bend Clinic if temperature change can contribute to ill health.

"There have been a lot of studies done on the subject of whether temperature change actually causes people to be ill or not, and the answer is not really," he said.

Dr. Hsieh said it's how we react to weather that affects our immune system, rather than the temperature itself. He said lots of people tend to under dress when temps rise, like they did Monday.

"For your body then to maintain its body temperature when all of a sudden it's 60 and you're running around in shorts, you're going to have to burn extra energy, extra fuel, your heart rate's gonna go up, you're going to have to increase your production of steroids and adrenaline to keep up with that," said Hsieh.

Dr. Hsieh also said studies have pointed out the average person might touch their face up to 1,000 times a day; a good way to spread bacteria. He said spring and fall-like temperatures do actually create breeding grounds for bacteria infections versus freezing cold temperatures. His advice?

"Never touch your face until you wash your hands."

He said this time of year most people are dealing with the common cold, bacterial infections, and the flu; but Dr. Hsieh said you shouldn't call your doctor the first day you feel sick.

"Even if you have a bacterial sinus infection or a bronchial infection, try to give it at least 7-10 days or more," he said, "Unless it's really bad, most times you should wait. And the reason why is because if we see people too soon you just don't have enough symptoms and clues to go by to figure out what's wrong with them."

With that said, Dr. Hsieh said to trust your gut, if you know it's urgent, see a doctor. Other than that, he said use common sense, dress appropriately, and don't touch your face until your hands are washed.


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