A slight nip in the air in the morning and evening indicates the approaching winters. And when winters come, can coughs and colds be far behind? Nope, this is the season when a person’s immunity is at its lowest while the outside atmosphere is all too potent for the growth of disease-causing microbes.
The reasons are very many. As it gets colder outside, we tend to keep our doors and windows closed, stopping the entry of fresh air and sunlight, both of which are good disinfectants. As a result the inside atmosphere too isn’t very healthy. So what do you do? Simple, just be a little careful and adopt the following tips and you will remain healthy.
1. Open all windows at least for some time during the forenoon. It is important that sunlight enters your house, each room, wherever it can. It will not only remove the dampness that comes with low temperatures but also help replenish the air inside the rooms.
It will also keep your mood happy. Far too many people are affected by the diminished sunlight in winters. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which means a difficulty of mood swings that occurs when light diminishes in the winter is a problem that is rearing its head in the big metros where flat-culture is rampant.
2. Wash your hands often and dry them immediately. People generally have a tendency to shirk away from water in winter. Many don’t wash their hands even before and after having food. This is not only a grossly bad habit, but the one which is the root cause of many health problems like stomach infections. Save yourself the bother of popping antibiotics by keeping your hands clean and dry.
3. Just as it is with hands so it is with your feet. Feet too should be kept neat, clean and dry else you may develop sores and fungi infection. Once you are back from school or office, remove your shoes and socks, wash your feet, dry them and apply moisturizer. Applying moisturizer will prevent fungi from entering the cracks in your heels.
4. Rinse your nose frequently. Keep your nasal passages clean to ward off cold. Studies show that those who rinsed their nasal passages every day suffer less from sinus and allergies.
The best way to clear your nasal passage is with a Neti pot, or a nose dropper, using a saline solution of 1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Pour or squirt some of the mixture into one nostril, while holding the other nostril shut. Repeat on the other side then blow your nose.
5. During winters change your toothbrush frequently to keep your mouth infection-free. The bristles of a toothbrush are the places where germs hide.
6. Eat zinc-rich products like zinc-fortified cereals, beans, pumpkin seeds or items like crab, beef, turkey. Zinc is an important immune-boosting mineral. It promotes the function of the thymus gland, which controls the entire immune system. It also increases the production and activity of infection-fighting white blood cells, and has many anti-viral properties.
Another good idea is to start your day with a bowl of yogurt, preferably the probiotic kind as the bacteria present in probiotic yogurt are very healthy for your gut.
7. Do not go short on water. While it is true that you won’t feel very thirsty in winters like you do in summers, it is important to keep drinking water. Water is the fluid that will flush out the toxins from your body, so keep well hydrated.
8. Eat foods rich in fibre like oats, apples and nuts as these help reduce inflammation and strengthens the immune system.