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Does cold weather make you sick?

Winter weather can be brutal, including the illnesses people experience when temperature starts to drop. But are the two linked? (Photo: William Brawley / Flickr 2.0 / CC BY 2.0 / MGN Online)

Winter weather can be brutal, including the illnesses people experience when temperature starts to drop. But are the two linked? We went to Dr. Fredericka Barr at Baylor Scott & White in North Austin to find out.

"So it's not cold weather that makes us sick, it's the things that we do when it's cold," Dr. Barr said.

Those things involve large gatherings, like visiting family at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and more indoor activities in general.

"We get close together. We bundle up, get in close quarters," Dr. Barr said.

She says spending more time with people indoors makes it easier for germs and viruses to spread.

"The best way to protect yourself, particularly against the flu, is by getting the flu vaccine, obviously, and the next way is just using simple habits such as washing your hands," Dr. Barr said.

It generally takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective, so it’s best to get it early before flu season hits.

"It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to work because our body has to build up the antibodies in order for us to be fully protected," Dr. Barr said.

Luckily, Amanda Castroverode doesn’t get sick often, but she is always mindful of what she touches, especially when winter arrives.

"If I'm out in public or in an elevator, at a gas station, I push all the buttons with my knuckles instead of the tips of my fingers,” Castroverode said.

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