GHENT, WV (WVNS) — As post-pandemic lifestyles begin to set in, there is still a common question as to whether or not cold air or heat can kill germs.

It is one of those times of year where temperatures constantly changing can show an increase in people showing signs and symptoms of illness. All questions can be answered whether or not germs can be killed temperature wise.

Does Cold Air Kill Germs?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cold air and snow do not kill germs, bacteria, or viruses. Most germs will stay dormant in freezing temperatures. The flu virus can be more cold-resistance and can thrive in cold weather during the winter. Also, when bacteria and viruses already enter the body, the host usually will have a warm temperature, where they can thrive, provided that they have the right temperature, which is usually the case.

Do Germs Spread Faster In Cold Weather?

Cold weather helps germs, bacteria, and viruses become more liable to spread faster. According to the National Institutes of Health, “cold air protects the virus by forming a hard outer layer of envelope gel.” The virus will stay longer in the air, thereby increasing the risk of transmission or a person inhaling it. Although cold weather will not always make us sick, It can still make us susceptible to becoming sick. Germs can still slow down, stay dormant, and the possibility of dying can happen if the weather drops to a freezing temperature.

Does Heat Kill Germs?

According to WHO, “Germs, bacteria, and viruses can be killed through heat at 140º F or higher.” Heat will break down the molecule structure of germs, thus disabling them from them attacking the host. The higher the temperature, the faster germs will be killed. A hot bath or shower unfortunately will not kill germs, and dampness will only help mold grow.

Do Germs Spread Faster In Hot Weather?

Hot weather is more likely to kill or slow down most germs, bacteria, and viruses from spreading. High heat energy, can obstruct the outer protective capsule of the viruses and will melt and expose the fragile body. It causes the protein in the germs and viruses to lose or warp it’s form. Some viruses can become comfortable in warmer weather, so it is still good to practice proper hygiene.

What Temperature Kills Germs In The House

Not all heat can kill germs. Most germs will die from 165 degrees F to 250 degrees F (121°C) within a couple of minutes. That’s the recommended temperature to heat up meat, fish, and pork before serving and eating. Only some viruses can be killed at 140 degrees F temperatures in hot water. For dry heat sterilization, the temperature must be up to 320 degrees F (160°C) for 2 hours or 338 degrees F (170°C) for 1 hour. Drinking boiled water is better than drinking hot water.

How To Protect Yourself From Germs And Viruses

Germs will always be around depending on the temperature because they react differently to different temperatures. Also, pathogens can live on surfaces and have different life expectancies. Even though some germs can be bad, they can also be good for you and strengthen your immune system. But in the case you do get sick, the following are ways to prevent you from getting sick from the flu in the future.

  1. Get a humidifier – A humidifier can resolve very dry air conditions and mucus membranes by dispersing water vapor. By maintaining the room humidity level between 30 to 50 percent, our nasal passage will be kept moist and form protective barriers against germs.
  2. Take Vitamin D supplements – The days are short during the winter, and the lack of sunlight will contribute to the low levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D help boost our body’s immune system against germs, viruses, and respiratory infections. Take 600 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily to prevent catching a cold and flu up to 70 percent.
  3. Get some fresh air – Especially during the cold winter seasons, as viruses often spread airborne from person to person carrying the germs. Most people will spend their time cooped up in an enclosed area. Whenever possible, go for a long walk instead of staying home the whole day.
  4. Get an air purifier with UV light – Germs can stay suspended in the air for days until it is inhaled or ingested. An air purifier will trap and eliminate airborne bacteria and viruses 24 hours a day without fail.
  5. Stop touching yourself – Viruses and germs often pass from hand to mouth. Avoid touching your face, nose, rubbing your eyes, biting your nails, and wiping your mouth. Sanitize your hand as frequently as possible. Also, keep social distancing with minimal contact from outsiders. Physical contact is the leading cause of virus spread.
  6. Disinfect everyday items – Any surface objects will have the risk of germs contaminated through indirect contact transmission. Disinfect items you touch daily, like a doorknob, remote controls, keyboards, handles, etc. There is no shortage of disinfectants in the market that are specifically designed to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and germs. Sanitizers can quickly remove germs from soap, while disinfectants kill germs permanently.
  7. Exercise regularly – At least 3 times a day for 20 minutes. It can improve the body immune system and upper respiratory tract from infections.
  8. A good night sleep – Between 6-8 hours without any interruption. A person with consistent quality sleep is 28% less likely to catch a cold.
  9. Eat protein-rich foods – For example, milk, eggs, fish, and greek yogurt. Yogurt is our favorite as it contains a strain of probiotics that will boost our body’s defense against viruses.
  10. Take flu shots – Some vaccines can be taken annually to protect against infections like influenza viruses.
  11. Don’t smoke or hang around with smokers – Smoking increases your chance of respiratory infections. You will be more vulnerable to seasonal colds, influenza, or H1N1 (swine flu).

Does Fresh Air Kill Germs?

Research shows fresh outdoor air is a natural disinfectant that will kill germs and bacteria. Sunlight’s contribution as a germicidal to kill the flu viruses is also key when it comes to getting fresh air and protecting yourself.

Why Do We Get Colds In Winter?

Lack of outdoor activities is one reason why we get colds and flu in the winter. The cold weather weakens the body’s defense mechanism when it comes to infections. Lack of natural sunlight is also another reason why we get sick during the colder seasons. Bacteria and viruses live longer indoors during winter as the air is less humid than outside.

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