With the sudden drop of temperature here in Belgium, we have all been told to bundle up ‘or you will catch a cold!’. But how much of it, is actually true, when the temperature drops. Would it be better to hide from the cold and stay indoors all the time? Can the Cold give us a Cold?
Viruses survive the weather
As the weather gets colder, getting sick does become more likely. However, the weather is not to blame directly. Flu and cold peak during the winter times. This is because the viruses, which cause Flu and colds, grow optimally during colder and dryer temperatures. They survive much longer and transmit easier between people. The viruses are the cause of our sickness. The cold weather and/or other factors, however, may just weaken your immune system to fight the virus. Not so sure if you have caught the cold? Check your symptoms in our previous article
The myth continues that you better stay out of the cold, to prevent getting ill. The cold air forces us to hide indoors, where heaters are creating a dry air. This dries the slimy layer in your nose, which makes you more susceptible to viruses. Normally, this slimy layer forms a barrier against germs to intrude. On top of that, people tend to gather indoors to hide from the winter. More people also means more contact between people. This gives germs an easy opportunity to spread.
Weak immune system
Exposure to germs is one step closer to becoming ill. The second step is when your immune system is weakened in it’s ability to fight the germs. One of the reasons why our immune system is weakened, is a lack of Vitamin D. Due to shorter sun hours during the winter and staying indoors, we are much less exposed to Sunshine. Vitamin D is essential in keeping our immune system strong. Besides that, the cold temperature does affect our immune cells. These cells tend to become less active during colder temperatures, which slows our immune respons to the viruses.
Although the weather does not cause a cold, it can make us vulnerable to catching sickness. Here are some tips to protect yourself from ‘the cold’.
The first step would be to prevent contact with germs. Washing hands properly is still the easiest way and the most effective one. Using alcohol wipes could also be helpful. Think of cleaning stuff and surfaces to get rid of the germs. Germs may survive for 24 hours! For example, on your kitchen sink, phone, bedsheets etc.
Dressing for the weather helps your body to protect against the viruses. Wearing several layers will help to retain body warmth. Think of water-repellent outer garment to prevent any cold from sneaking in. Try wearing mittens to keep your hands and fingers warm, rather than wearing gloves. Wear a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold air.
An humidifier will increase the moisture in the air. This will prevent your nose and lungs from drying out. When the nose and lung airways are moistened, they form a slimy layer to catch the germs and your body will get rid of them.
Help your immune system
This last tip is always good to implement. Living a healthy lifestyle will boost your immune system, whilst make you feel better. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and proper sleep will help you with that.
If you caught the cold anyways and are stuck indoors because of it, contact our ViViDoctors for treatment and care.
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