All of us like winters, but what we love is the weather before winter finally arrives. With the pleasant breeze and clear skies, it’s the cosiest time of the year. But if there’s one thing that we hate about this weather, it is our susceptibility to fall sick.
So, if you are somebody who sneezes on and on again, has a cold and sore throat or develops a cough every time the weather changes, just know you are not alone. It’s the season of illnesses after all. But have you ever wondered why? Why do you fall sick this time of the year?
Well, we will be telling you that and will be offering some tips and treatment options that may help you with the symptoms.
Why do you fall sick when the season changes?
Everybody gets a cold. It’s normal. Why does it always coincide with season change?
The change in temperatures offers the right environment for various groups of bacteria & viruses to prevail, which then spread contagious illnesses and diseases.
One of the most common viruses, called, Human Rhinovirus (also known as HRV) is responsible for causing 40% of cold infections.
The most common virus that causes up to 40 per cent of all colds is Human Rhinovirus (HRV). They grow in cooler weather, specifically the onset of winter. The Influenza virus causes flu that divides and spreads mostly when the air is dry and cold, like in winter.
But it’s not only the cold weather to blame, your immune system is equally responsible too. Let’s discuss how.
For starters, the immune system becomes weaker as the seasons change. It becomes weaker as the weather changes. Not to mention, in winter the immune system has to work harder as these flu viruses grow as the air gets colder.
Secondly, as winter approaches, your exposure to vitamin D reduces. Please note that Vitamin D is essential for the immune system to function optimally. It collaborates with your immune cells to handle allergen responses whenever the body is under attack. With reduced levels of Vitamin D, the immune system fails to recognise harmful viruses and modulate and adapt accordingly.
Thirdly, your blood vessels in the respiratory system also become narrow in colder weather. Consequently, white blood cells that are supposed to reach these blood vessels may be blocked, preventing the body from fighting off germs. Additionally, it has also been observed that some viral strains multiply faster in colder temperatures, which are mostly found in the nasal strains (as opposed to lungs) during colder months. What we mean here is that your nose’s immunity is also hampered around this time. The hair surrounding your nostrils has a job to do, they are responsible for catching invaders. However, as the mucus surrounds the hair in colder temperatures, they are unable to do their jobs. So, what it means is that your first line of defence, your nostril hair, fails to defend your body.
However, mucus is your body’s friend the other times. It is composed of proteins, water, salt and antibodies. The running rose, which you probably experience often, is your immune system’s response to flush out invaders. However, during the colder seasons, the nose’s immune response is suppressed, further weakening your defence.
How do you avoid getting sick when the weather changes?
There is no denying that colder weather makes you more susceptible to cold and flu, but with certain precautions, you can dodge them. Here are a few tips:
- You must focus on increasing your immunity and practising good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, wear masks and stay away from infected people.
- You must also consider increasing your exposure to Vitamin D.
- Consider using a humidifier.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Zinc as they support your immune system in fighting off diseases.
- Prioritise 8 hours of sleep. Your body cleans up many of the immune cells, boosting the immune system’s functioning.
Our susceptibility to falling ill with weather changes is a complex interplay of various factors, from the influence of temperature and humidity on the human body to the seasonal fluctuations in infectious agents. While we cannot control the weather, understanding these mechanisms and taking proactive measures to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as boosting our immune system, and practising good hygiene, can help reduce the impact of weather-related illnesses. By adapting to the ever-changing climate and caring for our well-being, we can better navigate the challenges that come with shifting seasons and ensure a healthier and happier life.