Cold waves hit several states in Brazil this week. Dawn had snow, negative feelings of heat and events caused by strong winds in the middle of the Yakecan hurricane, which reached more than 60 miles[100 km]an hour, roofing a hospital in Tramandaí (RS) and overturning a truck in Serra. to Rio do Rastro (SC).
The city of São Paulo had an average temperature of 8 ° C overnight, but the temperature dropped sharply, with negative feelings of warmth in some areas, such as the M’Boi Mirim neighborhood, in the southern region, where 8 ° C appeared. being 1ºC, and the Congonhas airport area, also south, where the observed temperature was 8ºC and a temperature of -2ºC.
This type of cold always causes health concerns and the question that children and grandchildren ask themselves historically: after all, who gets the cold without clothes, can you get the flu, catch a cold or get a runny nose?
The question of “million” has a simple answer: yes. Cold, according to an expert who heard the report Live well, can facilitate viral infections. The explanation was provided by immunization specialist Fábio Castro, professor of preventive medicine at USP (University of São Paulo) and administrator of the Immunization Clinic Service at Das Clínicas de São Paulo Hospital.
Influenza is caused by the flu virus. A runny nose can be a sign of a cold, which is also a respiratory illness and is often confused with a fever. The image is caused, however, by a different virus. The most common, according to the Ministry of Health, are rhinoviruses, parainfluenza viruses and syncytial respiratory viruses. The difference between them is, above all, in the symptoms and the duration of the condition.
According to the doctor, the cold does not act directly on the immune system, but can act as an important stimulant. In addition, such a protective coat that only comes out of the closet can eventually have the opposite effect, if not properly cleaned.
“This time of year, autumn, is worse than the winter season. Several factors are important: sudden changes in temperature; closure and overcrowding; dry and cold air; increased pollution and is the time people take. coats and blankets outside the cupboard, are full of mites. Therefore, they are also very dangerous for people with rhinitis and asthma “, he says.
Fábio Castro argues that there is a constant struggle between human beings, through the immune system, against the invaders of the external environment: which are microorganisms (fungi, viruses and bacteria); allergens and pollutants (chemical agents). In most cases, he asserts the USP professor, the creature wins this battle.
“When it loses, the disease comes. The immune system consists of cells, proteins, different substances that interact to control, activate and prevent, in short, our immune system. The first immunity is the skin and mucous membranes (respiratory, intestinal, etc.). Genitourinary This barrier already allows the entry of these aggressive agents. Example: Inflammation of the bronchial mucosa in allergic asthma can facilitate infection and viral infections can lead to increased asthma “, he insists.
For the immune system to function properly, he adds, good nutrition, moisture, moderate physical activity and rest are essential. In that case, the expert says that, even if you get a cold or flu, a person will have an independent evolution of three to five days because the immune system has planned a more protective response.
“Frequent infections show defects in the immune response and must be checked. They are called immunodeficiencies. Fortunately, they are rare and can be seen in children and adults.”
I am cold all the time. And now?
Brothers João Neto, 3, and Giovana, 1, are far from free to deal with the cold of the road alone, and it is not yet time to hear from their parents the old season advice: “Children, take your coats off because “The weather is cold.”
However, despite being careful with all protections, the children of teacher Priscila Cavalcanti, 39, are close to reversing the flu cycle. Priscila says that the problem has been happening since young João Neto started attending school.
“These are recurring symptoms. In the second week of classes, he already came back with a runny nose. Then, a cough, phlegm … And the next day passed to Giovana, who has not yet attended school. Treated. “Later, she came back with the flu, and her sister got it again. And things have been happening again and again ever since,” he says.
These subsequent infections, explains Fábio Castro, occur when young children come in contact with other children in everyday school life. Day to day they increase the likelihood of contact with the virus and develop frequent flu and flu.
“Which, in a way, even builds up immunity. Obviously, fewer children may have lower immunity, so in the case of recurrent infections, expert evaluation is essential”, he warned.
Philip prohaska, head of infectious disease research at HUOC (Oswaldo Cruz Hospital), a unit affiliated with UPE (University of Pernambuco), explains that when a person has a first viral infection, immunity decreases. And what will happen next?
“It makes it easier for other infections to get inside, it opens the door for other infections, other viruses, other fungi. Colds can make you worse as well as heat, which causes dehydration. Cold can, yes, cause more respiratory symptoms But not cold. only. Some conditions make you sick. Sudden change of temperature, heat shock: you leave the hot environment to cold, for example “, he says.
agglomeration and viruses
The pathologist remembers that in the winter, people accumulate in large numbers in confined spaces, which can be overheated. This leads to serious viral infections.
“Covid-19 showed us that overcrowding increases the risk of respiratory infections. That’s why in this winter we have the most circulating viruses, because there is a constant population. Viruses are very much related to communication with people. Hand hygiene. “And then the air accumulates. And then the air accumulates. If a person keeps sneezing or coughing in that environment, the virus accumulates inside,” he suggested.
According to Marcus Villander, president of the Pernambuco Clinical Pharmaceutical Association, which works directly with autoimmune diseases and immunosuppression, it is because of this collection of factors that the flu vaccine is used in pre-season campaigns. cold.
“I was born in the countryside (Pernambuco) and there we call nighttime cold. There is a popular belief that cold can cause the flu. There are some cold-related factors that can increase the risk of viral infections. “For example, in cold and dry weather the mucous membranes provide little secretion, which is a natural barrier to the immune system.
Villander points out that viral infections are more common in the cold, not necessarily because the virus weakens the immune system, as HIV does for example, but because indirect causes, such as high concentration and dry environment, provide viral infection and facilitate breaking. of the virus, the first barrier of the organism’s protection, which is the mucous membrane.