Why cold air can contribute to the flu

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It`s been a flu season with deadly consequences.  More than a dozen area patients have died from this year`s version of the flu.  It`s known as H1N1 and is sending hundreds of patients to area hospitals.

Some people wonder if the back and forth weather will only make matters worse.  There`s not much in the way of medical proof to suggest see-saw temperatures can make you sick.   There is evidence showing colder air can make you more susceptible to getting sick.

"Cold air does not allow the lungs to clear things as well as it does during a moist summer in St. Louis," said Dr. James Hinrichs, Chief Medical Officer for SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, Mo.

In addition to hand washing and getting a flu shot, Hinrichs tells patients to stay hydrated.

"Some people use a cool mist vaporizer just to kind of help keep that moisture in your lungs," said Hinrichs.

He hopes anyone feeling the flu symptoms of a fever, headache, cough and sore throat will seek treatment.  He said doctors can offer relief if patients seek help before it`s too late.