Helpful tips to avoid getting sick during winter

The Qatar Meteorology Department earlier issued an advisory to its citizens about the coming winter season. And aside from changing our wardrobes, we should also be cautious about caring for our health especially during this weather change.

We may have observed lately that some of our family members or officemates are coughing or having runny nose, and that’s basically because our body tend to go haywire when the temperature changes.

My family even got the early effects of weather change. We got sick one after another: I had mouth ulcer, my daughter had fever, and my wife had cough. And we really suffered from some uncomfortable nights that week.

A friend who works as a Specialist at Hamad Medical Center shared these interesting insights. “Sudden change in temperature (hot to cold or vice versa) weakens the body’s resistance because your body tries to rebalance itself more quickly than usual.”

Here are some of her advises to avoid problems that cold weather can bring:

handwashing-handrubbing-800x1121-120914
World Health Organization’s guide on Handwashing and Handrubbing Techniques

 

  1. PRACTICE PROPER HANDWASHING. A cold virus can stay on skin for up to three hours and on surfaces for up to four before dying. Your best defense is washing your hands thoroughly and often—and steering clear of coughers and sneezers.
  2. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE. Exercise not only keeps your body warm and loosens stiff joints, but helps prevent weight gain, which can also put stress on joints. One of the best things you can do to avoid joint pain is keep moving.
  3. EAT HEALTHY. To combat low energy and blasé mood, score as much light exposure as possible and increase vitamin D intake by eating fatty fish like salmon and tuna, drinking fortified milk and orange juice, or taking a supplement.
  4. MAKE SURE TO GET AT LEAST 6 TO 8 HOURS OF RESTORATIVE SLEEP (at night!). Sleep is when our bodies repair, rebuild and regenerate. Insufficient deep sleep may be the primary cause of degenerative disease, which is premature or rapid aging. Proper sleep is anti-aging and life extending.
  5. KEEP WARM, DRESS ACCORDINGLY. Indeed, dressing up isn’t only according to the occasion but also on weather. When you are used to going out to corniche for a brisk walk before, or would love to have picnic at Aspire Park in the mornings few weeks back, you will now feel that cool breeze that could make you shiver. Shivering depresses the immune system and this makes us more likely to catch colds. Also, lower levels of sunlight and altered levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin negatively affect how the immune system performs.’ We lose up to 30 percent of our body heat through our heads – so wear a hat or cap.

*with additional information from womenshealthmag.com and foreverhealthy.net

While flu vaccine was already available at Hamad Medical since early October, she also said that sometimes the change in weather is not the direct cause of some sickness or diseases. Weather change permits a group of viruses to flourish and make people sick. Many studies show that RHINOVIRUS and CORONAVIRUS are the two main agents that causes common colds and they are active and flourish during cold weather. Likewise, the INFLUENZA VIRUS, replicates and spreads most effectively when the air is cold and dry – that is – during winter time.

As the cold season starts, we have to make minor adjustments in the way we do things especially in keeping our bodies warm by dressing up properly (especially for the kids and the older people). As it is our obligation to take care of ourselves, it’s also being responsible and caring towards others whom we could pass on these viruses and diseases. Always consult a doctor when the symptoms persist for more than a day or two.

At the end of the day, we can only enjoy this winter season when all of us are well and healthy.

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