Taking a look at the weather's role in illness - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Taking a look at the weather's role in illness

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SYLVANIA, Ohio -

If you have to get to the doctor, this week, you may need to take a number.

One ProMedica office in Sylvania has seen a sharp increase in appointments in the new year, and they're not alone.

We asked if the weather is responsible for the increase in illness.

"It's a myth that if you go outside without a hat or with a wet hair that you're going to catch a cold. That is a myth, but we tell people to use common sense, to be more comfortable to dress appropriately," Dr. George Darah of ProMedica told us.

Part of the increase in illness, this time of the year, comes from our behavior.

"During the holiday time, we see a lot more illness because people are in closed environments. They tend to be hugging and kissing more, and germs are spread with your hands when you touch your mouth or your face, and they're spread when we touch other people. Certainly during the holiday time, you might not be getting as much rest, you might not be sleeping properly, a poor diet," Dr. Darah added.

For many schools, this is the first week back after the holidays.

But the weather does play a role in the spread of illness.

Air is generally drier in the winter.

Dr. Darah explained, "during the winter, viruses tend to spread easier in a dry environment."

... and large temperature swings can also play a factor.

"If their heath is compromised, an extreme weather change might stress their immune system."

With a big warm up in store for the weekend, followed by a massive cool down next week, the best thing you can do to stay healthy is not only keep your hands clean, but also dress appropriately and be aware of the forecast.

Dr. Darah said it's all about the basics: "good hand washing, get your flu shots, certainly plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and get some exercise."

ProMedica says that the emergency rooms have also been much busier than normal, due to the recent spike in colds and the flu.

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