We have viruses all year round, Viruses don’t only appear in winter, what happens is that in winter there is a series of conditions that favor the appearance and transmission Viruses that cause respiratory infections.
Why do viruses appear in winter?
The first condition is that we spend more time inside because of the cold. insidewe gather more people and We ventilate the rooms less, This increases the chances of exposure to respiratory viruses.
unfortunately we didn’t notice measure as basic as ventilation Until the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus.
Our mothers and grandmothers have always told us “wrap up you are going to get cold”. Cold doesn’t really affect us by itself and neither is it the cause of the virus, What creates a cold is a series of circumstances that increase the transmission of viruses in winter.
For example, Due to cold, the nasal mucosa becomes weak and dries up., In such a situation, we lose the security of one of our main obstacles. If it’s cold, we turn on the heating, but that doesn’t fix the situation, because heating dries the environment And it also affects the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract.
A drop in body temperature, in general, lowers the functioning of the immune system. Of the creature It seems that if our temperature falls below 37ºC, our immune system starts working poorly.
In addition to the body in general, cold weakens defenses especially in our nose, It makes an antibody found in the nasal fluid (immunoglobulin A) worse.
That’s why we We are more vulnerable to viruses because of the cold, But with viruses the opposite happens: a cold builds up. lipid barrier one who covers and protects be more resistant. why,
In addition to making them more resistant, it also makes them more contagious.
loss Rhinovirus (nose virus) They ideally respire between 33ºC and 35ºC, the temperature at which our nasal passages and upper respiratory tract are located.
types of cold virus in winter
this winter sufferingWinter respiratory diseases par excellence, joined by two other main actors inflammation of the windpipe And this coronavirusa condition called tripledemia,
But it is not just three viruses and three diseases, there are many more viruses that cause different types of viruses. cold respiratory infection,
Flu is made up of a group of viruses called influenza virusAnd we know that we have 4 types named with letters A, B, C, D. According to the WHO, the types that cause seasonal pandemics of influenza in humans that are of public health concern are types A and B.
This may seem like an insignificant transition if we compare it with the coronavirus pandemic that we have experienced. But keep in mind that annual influenza pandemics cause 3 to 5 million severe cases and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths worldwide.
flu comes with General malaise, muscle aches and fever, This fever should not confuse us with the fact that we need antibiotics. Antibiotics are for bacteria and the flu, as explained, is caused by a virus.
the best way to stop it Flu Vaccine, Annual vaccination is recommended, especially for pregnant women, children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, people over the age of 65, patients with chronic medical conditions, and health professionals.
on the other hand we have common cold or cough, It is produced by a cocktail of different types of virus: rhino virus (there are more than 100 types), syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza, adenovirus, and some coronaviruses, Yes, coronaviruses existed before the pandemic we’ve had.
The common cold does not cause fever. Its most frequent manifestations are: sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat, burning eyes and sometimes cough, It is important that they recover well so that they do not get bronchitis or pneumonia.
Bronchiolitis and respiratory syncytial virus
Another virus that is most visible in winter is respiratory polynuclear virusWhich infects both adults and children.
but they are Children under the age of 2 are most affectedEspecially those who are less than 6 months old. produces what is called inflammation of the windpipeInfection of the lungs and respiratory system of the child.
course with shortness of breath, cough, wheezing and mucus production, In severe cases, very severe respiratory distress may require admission.
Bronchiolitis can appear at any time of the year, although it appears most often in the winter months and early spring (from November through March and April).
laryngitis and pharyngitis
laryngitis It is one of the pathologies caused by viruses (rhinovirus, RSV, parainfluenza, adenovirus, etc.) that mainly affects children. Its symptoms are similar to those of bronchiolitis, but in this case, it is the upper airways that are most affected and inflamed.
Specifically, the affected area is where they are vocal cords, From this it arises that its characteristic symptom is a type of dry cough, commonly called whooping cough. “dog cough”,
Lastly, we can’t forget pharyngomygdalitis, one in 80% of cases are caused by a virus The above. The presentation of the disease is sore throat and difficulty swallowing, moderate fever, catarrhal symptoms of variable intensity and a slight effect on the general condition.
The remaining 20% of pharyngeal tonsillitis is bacterial, which is caused by group A beta hemolytic streptococcus (EBHGA) or streptococcus pyogenes, most of the time. in this matter fever is more intense and may appear Pus on the tonsils and swollen glands,
Why are there so many viruses this year?
It is possible that both the media and the public are more aware after the pandemic health issues in general, and specific respiratory symptoms, Now words like virus, communicability, event and other terms that we learned during the coronavirus pandemic are familiar to us.
Besides, we continue with the coronavirus in our midst and Compulsory use of masks in some places, which reminds us to be aware of respiratory symptoms on many occasions. But the data cannot be denied.
according to him Latest surveillance report on acute respiratory infections in Spain From the Carlos III Institute of Health (Published on 18 January), the global rate of acute respiratory infections in the second week of 2023 is 751 cases per 100,000 inhabitants,
The situation has not worsened much compared to the previous period. But as this report indicates, it should be kept in mind that the delay in notification may affect the incidence rate of the previous week, which may be corrected in subsequent weeks.
The same report indicates that “the percentages of positivity for SARS-CoV-2, influenza and acute respiratory infections of RSV are 7.9%, 13.7% and 9.8%, respectively”. Is it like that rising rates of flu syndrome In all age groups except those under 5 years of age.
Even more Bronchiolitis rates on the rise In all age groups, in fact, despite bronchiolitis being associated with children, there is a higher rate of RSV in people over the age of 79 than in the 0 to 4 year group.
This winter’s flu season has started early
This cold and flu season this winter has been “early”. The reason for this, of course, is the abolition of COVID measures.
After 3 years of pandemic, mobility restrictions, masks and being very careful, we are now almost completely back to normal which has produced Flu cases in the last weeks of 2022 will more than double those registered in 2021.
Another factor that explains why there are so many cases of flu, colds and bronchiolitis We are not exposed to these viruses and have lost immunity to viruses and bacteria,
Especially in young children, it’s not that they’ve lost immunity, it’s that they haven’t even generated it since they’ve been exposed to these viruses for the first time, and they’ve done it all at the same time.
how to fight virus
If anything positive can be taken from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that the population has learned the importance of some basic hygiene measures, The same things we’ve learned about the corona virus apply to all viruses.
With a right we can control its broadcast a little bit Ventilating spaces and rooms, washing hands, keeping a safe distance or staying at home if we have a cold,
In these cases we should wear a mask as a protective measure, as it was used as another public health measure in Japan prior to the coronavirus pandemic.