When the weather is cold, people get sick more quickly. This is because cold air is dense, meaning it doesn’t move as much; thus, viruses can stay longer and have more opportunities to infect people. In addition, the cold, dry air is the perfect environment for germs to thrive.
The human body also becomes less adept at fighting off infections in the cold due to factors like lower body temperatures that can result in the temporary narrowing of blood vessels. This is great for preserving body heat but not so much for blood flow. As such, fewer white blood cells reach the upper respiratory tract, and the body isn’t better able to defend itself from germs.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can stay healthy even when the weather isn’t that pleasant. Here are some tips to ensure you stay in good shape during the colder months of the year:
One of the most common illnesses that spread in cold weather is influenza or the flu. If left untreated, this disease can result in hospitalization or even death. That’s why it’s important to get your flu vaccine each year, so you’re always protected against the disease. Even if you do get the virus, your symptoms won’t be as severe.
In case you get sick, it’s wise to stock your home first aid kit with medicines to treat flu symptoms like fever, body pains, a clogged nose, and a sore throat. This way, you’ll always have something to help ease your discomfort and get better quickly. Luckily, you can get plenty of these over-the-counter drugs from an online drugstore.
Eat Healthy, Warm Foods
To keep your body healthy, you must eat healthy foods. During the colder months, however, you also need to consider how to keep your body warm through your diet. A good way to do this is to use healthy fats like olive oil and nut/seed butter in cooking. You can also add spices like cumin, ginger, and paprika to your favorite dishes. Ginger, in particular, is great not just for warmth but also for settling upset stomachs.
You may also want to cook more healthy soups and stews to warm up. Use foods rich in fiber and antioxidants to boost your immune system while enjoying a hot meal. In the morning, you can try eating cereal with warm milk. Spices like cinnamon can also add a bit of heat and extra flavor.
Drink Lots of Water
You might not feel the need to drink a lot of water when the weather is cold because you don’t sweat as much. However, water is essential for maintaining your body temperature, so make sure to get your required amount of hydration daily. Besides, drinking a lot of water can help keep your skin moisturized and also prevent conditions like constipation and joint stiffness.
Speaking of drinks, the cold weather might compel you to drink alcoholic beverages because they tend to make you feel warm. However, this phenomenon is actually the result of alcohol lowering your core temperature; simply put, the environment feels warm because your body is cold. So, to stay warm and healthy during the colder months, avoid consuming too much wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages. If you do indulge in a couple of drinks, remember to hydrate properly!
Dress for the Weather
You may not know it, but cold weather makes your heart pump faster to help circulate more blood and warm you up. So to give your cardiac muscles a bit of a break, it’s a good idea to keep warm by dressing up in layers if you have to go out. When indoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, pajama pants, or even socks. For sleeping, you may want to exchange your usual light blanket for a slightly heavier one.
The lower temperatures might make you feel a little lazy and sleepy, but it’s best if you can push through it and keep exercising. This way, you can warm up, stay in shape, and enjoy many other health benefits, like improving your sleep quality and lowering your blood pressure. If the cold is really getting to you, even simple, moderate exercises like climbing stairs are better than nothing.
Wash Your Hands
Last but certainly not least, make it a habit to wash your hands properly no matter the weather. Different kinds of viruses, but especially those that cause the flu and the common cold, can be transmitted through touch. By practicing proper and frequent hand washing, you can prevent the spread of a lot of diseases.
While you’re at it, make sure to disinfect high-touch surfaces as well to kill germs. Some of the most critical surfaces that need disinfection include kitchen counters, doorknobs, and light switches.
While the colder weather can be pleasant, it can also make your health take a bit of a dip and indirectly cause diseases. However, with the above-mentioned tips, you can hopefully stay in good shape and enjoy the more comfortable temperatures while they last.