So many children end up sick during the fall and winter months. Even with the flu vaccine, children catch colds, bronchitis, and even pneumonia more often in the winter than at any other time in the year. Because of this, it was believed for a long time that cold weather caused these illnesses. This is not exactly true.
Cold weather and prolonged exposure to it can cause a weakened immune system. Kids who walk to school or play outside may be more likely to catch an illness. However, it actually takes germs to make a child sick. Playing outside in the rain or snow will not make a child sick. Hypothermia, which is caused by prolonged exposure to the elements, can cause similar symptoms to the cold or flu, but again only weakens the immune system to make it more susceptible to illness.
So, why is winter considered flu season? Children spend more time indoors during the winter. Recess is often canceled at school due to the weather. Families spend more time in close quarters during the winter. When one person gets sick within a family or a classroom, the close proximity to the others in the room or household means the germs spread more easily.
A great way to lessen the spread of these germs is hand washing. In fact, most doctors will tell parents that this stops the spread of germs faster than any other device for avoiding illnesses. Secondly, wiping down shared surfaces with warm soapy water can help as well. While it is impossible to avoid all of the germs during flu season, doing a few things can help avoid some.