As the seasons change from autumn to winter, it’s always the same. A cold front moves in, the temperature drops, and everyone suddenly starts sneezing and coughing. The cold arrives once the weather turns frigid.
The yearly shift from warm to cold weather may seem to increase the risk of disease, but understanding the mechanisms at play and the causes and potential remedies is beneficial.
Cold Weather and Immune Function
First, it’s vital to distinguish that a drop in temperature won’t directly make you sick but that a shift in weather patterns may increase your susceptibility to illness. Three primary causes contribute to the increased prevalence of sickness during climate shifts.
Air dryness: When exposed to winter’s cold, dry air, the mucous membranes are more easily breached by viruses. When the mucus membranes are damaged, viruses can enter the body.
The cold: As the temperature drops, our immune system is weakened, leaving us more open to illness.
Exposure: The risk includes being outside in the cold and among others who may be ill. In the winter, when temperatures are lower, individuals tend to spend more time indoors, increasing the number of opportunities for viruses to spread. Indoors, where there are more people and ventilation isn’t as excellent as outside, diseases may quickly spread.
Some viruses thrive in the colder months when their hosts are less likely to be active; hence winter is also the peak season for influenza and other such viruses.
The Impact of Low Temperatures
Many scientists have hypothesized that being out in cold weather for too long might weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fend against illnesses. It might be due to any number of factors, including:
Low amounts of vitamin D: Many people’s vitamin D intake drops throughout the winter because of decreased sun exposure. The immune system relies heavily on vitamin D for proper functioning.
The immune system may be less effective at lower temperatures. One research from 2015 demonstrated that exposing mouse airway cells to colder temperatures reduced their immune response against a mouse-adapted rhinovirus.
Sclerosis with constriction of the arteries: The upper respiratory tract’s blood vessels constrict when exposed to cold, dry air. This might hinder the body’s ability to combat pathogens by preventing white blood cells from reaching the mucosal membrane.
Getting Ready For The Winter
Making sure you receive enough of the vitamins and minerals you need from fruits and veggies will help you prevent becoming sick this winter.
Maintaining a healthy sleep routine.
Water intake and retention.
Keeping up a consistent routine of hand washing.
Constantly reaching for fresh tissue when they need to clear their airways.
Keep from sharing anything edible or drinkable with someone with a cold or the flu.
Taking probiotics throughout the winter might also help your immune system. The probiotic bacteria allow the body’s defenses to be more effective against illness. One research indicated that persons who took probiotics saw around a 40% reduction in their frequency of being sick with the common cold or having an upset stomach. The best products for increasing immunity and guarding against colds and infections include Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum.