Does colder weather make you sick?

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The cold months and flu season go hand-in-hand, but before flu season is even fully here, doctors say this time of year has many people stopping in to urgent care centers for sinus issues and breathing trouble. Some people think that it's because of a swift change in temperature. Doctors say it can have an impact but won’t make you sick.

With a temperature drop in the forecast, people are getting ready.

Emilie Easton, a UT student, tells 13abc, "When the weather's cold, you get sinuses, you get more tired, just want to stay inside."

Meghan Hall attends Sienna Heights, and she says that she gets sick this time of year. She explains, "My sinuses. My nose will get a little runny, stuff like that."

Terry Turpening lives in Toledo and keeps active to stay healthy. He’s suffered from asthma in the past, but now, he walks up to seven miles a day. He tells 13abc that when the weather gets cold, it still tends to affect him. He explains, "I tend to breathe heavy."

The season of fevers, coughing, sneezing and more is about to arrive, and the first signs of it are big temperature changes.

Dara Meyer is a nurse practitioner with Mercy Health. She explains, "That sudden change just takes a little more work and effort on their breathing. Whether it's that extreme heat weather or that really cold dry weather."

Meyer says people most affected by the weather change are those with chronic breathing problems and allergies. "When you have a flare-up of any of those kinds of conditions, it makes your immune system a little bit more weakened than it normally would be, which would make you more susceptible to the kinds of viruses that might be going around right now," she says.

So the temperature change itself doesn't spark an illness. But Meyer says it can make it easier to catch one. She explains, "You're going to come into contact with it more, meaning that you're at risk for developing it. But it doesn't necessarily mean you as a healthy person, because it's going from warm to cold that you're going to get sick from that."

For now, the most common issues that Meyer says she sees are upper respiratory viruses and sinus infections.

"The runny nose and the congestion. And that's when you need to start asking those questions: Are you having a fever, are you having a cough? Is it more of a change of season or allergy, or is it a viral thing that we need to address?"

Meyer says the best way to stay healthy this time of year, warm or cold, to wash your hands often, and get the flu vaccine.