Yale researchers have pinpointed a key reason why people are more likely to get sick and even die from flu during winter months: low humidity.
While experts know that cold temperatures and low humidity promote transmission of the flu virus, less is understood about the effect of decreased humidity on the immune system’s defenses against flu infection.
The Yale research team, led by Akiko Iwasaki, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, explored the question using mice genetically modified to resist viral infection as humans do. The mice were all housed in chambers at the same temperature, but with either low or normal humidity. They were then exposed to the influenza A virus.
The researchers found that low humidity hindered the immune response of the animals in three ways. It prevented cilia, which are hair-like structures in airways cells, from removing viral particles and mucus. It also reduced the ability of airway cells to repair damage caused by the virus in the lungs. The third mechanism involved interferons, or signaling proteins released by virus-infected cells to alert neighboring cells to the viral threat. In the low-humidity environment, this innate immune defense system failed.
The study offers insight into why the flu is more prevalent when the air is dry. “It’s well known that where humidity drops, a spike in flu incidence and mortality occurs. If our findings in mice hold up in humans, our study provides a possible mechanism underlying this seasonal nature of flu disease,” said Iwasaki.
While the researchers emphasized that humidity is not the only factor in flu outbreaks, it is an important one that should be considered during the winter season. Increasing water vapor in the air with humidifiers at home, school, work, and even hospital environments is a potential strategy to reduce flu symptoms and speed recovery, they said.
Learn more: Flu virus’ best friend: Low humidity
The Latest on: Flu
via Google News
The Latest on: Flu
- Black swan DNA could help us understand human response to bird fluon May 2, 2021 at 9:22 pm
In a world-first, scientists from The University of Western Australia have assembled the entire DNA of the black swan, which could offer insight into ...
- V Flu 150 Tableton May 1, 2021 at 7:15 pm
V Flu 150 Tablet is used in the treatment of Fungal infections. View V Flu 150 Tablet (strip of 1 Tablet) uses, composition, side-effects, price, substitutes, drug interactions, precautions, warnings, ...
- Dual vaccine could prevent COVID-19 and fluon April 30, 2021 at 7:54 pm
Pharmaceutical giant Moderna is developing a dual vaccine that could protect recipients from influenza and COVID-19. "If they combine the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine would you consider ...
- 2 Manitobans infected with rare swine flu variantson April 30, 2021 at 8:39 am
Two human cases of influenza variants normally found in pigs have been detected in Manitoba. The cases — two different strains — were found in early April in two unrelated individuals in different ...
- Cadmium And The Fluon April 30, 2021 at 6:12 am
How does cadmium interact with pathogens in the body? Scientists show this could be a potentially dangerous combination.
- Sacking of NSW aged care worker who refused flu vaccine upheldon April 30, 2021 at 1:11 am
Fair Work Commission finding that nursing home was ‘prudent and reasonable’ could have implications for Covid vaccination ...
- Luis Robert back with the Chicago White Sox after going on the injured list earlier this week with flu-like symptomson April 29, 2021 at 10:25 am
Th White Sox reinstated center fielder Luis Robert from the injured list ahead of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.
- COVID-19 'will be an endemic virus like the flu,' says Manitowoc County Health Officeron April 29, 2021 at 6:00 am
COVID-19 will be part of a new normal, just as the flu is part of our normal every winter,' Lambert told Manitowoc County Board Tuesday.
- Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the COVID Pandemicon April 29, 2021 at 4:33 am
As Scientific American reported last fall, the drop-off in flu numbers was both swift and universal. Since then, cases have stayed remarkably low. “There’s just no flu circulating,” says Greg Poland, ...
- Misleading flu statistics fuel ‘fake pandemic’ claims onlineon April 28, 2021 at 1:35 am
A graphic purporting to show that flu cases have fallen dramatically since 2020 has been shared by Facebook users worldwide alongside a claim it proves health authorities are falsely passing influenza ...
via Bing News