Last Updated: December 24, 2022, 13:00 IST
Winters knocking at our doors also bring in the concern of falling sick, catching cold and other infections (Image: Shutterstock)
Winters knocking at our doors also bring in the concern of falling sick, catching cold and other infections
Winters knocking at our doors also bring in the concern of falling sick, catching cold and other infections. The drop in mercury can be harsh. Growing up, we were told by our parents to a sweater and a cap before going outside so we don’t catch a cold. But what leads to the suddenly increased risk of falling sick in the winter? There could be multiple factors behind it.
1. Dry winter air helps viruses to infect more people
During winter, the air is very dry and the moisture present in it evaporates, which means that the virus particles can stay in the air for a long time and are more likely to be inhaled by a passerby. Cold and dry air can also irritate people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This can exacerbate them to infections like the common cold, pneumonia or flu.
2. Not maintaining personal hygiene
You need to ensure good hand hygiene. Cover the mouth while coughing and sneezing, wash your hands or sanitize them from time to time. Wear a mask whenever you are outside and maintain social distancing from people who are sick.
3. Stress and insufficient sleep
Stress and bad sleep not only take a toll on your mental health but even on your physical well-being. Stress can steal your peace of mind. Being stressed and not having a peaceful sleep can lead to the weakening of your immune system and you may be at risk of suffering from a common cold. A weak immune system may not allow you to fight infections and viruses.
4. Spending more time indoors during the chilly months
Since the temperature outside is low, we tend to spend more time inside. Do you know? Following a sedentary lifestyle and colder temperatures slow downs your immunity and make you sick. The dust particles and moulds in houses can invite you to common allergies. Being at home for longer durations means that it becomes easier for the viruses to cause common colds, flu and other illnesses to spread from one person to another, simply because you are closer to someone who is contagious.
5. Viruses could replicate better at lower temperatures
Rhinoviruses are one of the many viruses that can cause colds during winter. These viruses appear to replicate better at temperatures just below the body temperatures. When we breathe in the cold air the blood vessels in our nose constricts and because of this, the white blood cells are inhibited from reaching the mucus membranes in our nose, to kill the viruses we inhale.
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– Make sure to wash your hands, when coming from the outside or from marketplaces.
– If you’re suffering from chronic respiratory issues, make sure to wrap a scarf around your nose and mouth or wear a mask, so that warm air enters your nose and lungs to help prevent common colds.
– In severe conditions, consult a doctor, and get flu shots and medicines.
– Run air humidifiers inside your homes and workplaces, as it kills around 30% of the viruses flying in the air.
Hope you have a happy and healthy winter!
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