A dip in temperature often leads to a runny nose. Isn’t that the truth for most of us? The more the temperature dips, the more it is likely to impact your respiratory system.
Do you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the common cold is one of the biggest reasons why people miss work during the winter?
But to prevent falling sick often, you need to know the cause of it. To deep dive into this we got in touch with Dr Naveen Nishchal, consultant, Internal Medicine, and Co-Founder at Meddo. This is what he has to say:
For one thing, the air that is colder and drier air casts an adverse effect on our respiratory system, turning it more vulnerable. Cold air can also cause variation in the inner balance of lower airways. Moreover, the cold air is known to aggravate existing respiratory problems. The natural cleansing of airways gets affected in the dry and cold weather, making conditions worse.
“The respiratory epithelial lining of airways called respiratory mucosa is sensitive to cold air especially when the season is changing and people are not accustomed to it physiologically. It takes a couple of days for people to get accustomed to colder air,” he said.
It is the nature of the virus – including the flu virus – to survive for longer periods when the weather is cold. This, naturally, makes winter the time when they are most active.
Another problem during the winter season is low humidity. Viruses usually have a layer of moisture on them. But when the humidity in the air is low, this layer evaporates and makes the virus permeable.
Then, of course, there is the matter of pollution. Cold air is denser and heavier than the hot summer air. And so it sits closer to the Earth’s surface and to human habitations. Pollutants and other toxic substances get trapped in this colder and denser layer of air which is closer to us, causing infections and also affecting immunity.
When it rains the dust and toxins in the air settle down. But unfortunately, very mild or no rain is seen in the winter season, due to which these allergens stay in the environment and lead to infections.
When the weather is cold people like to stay, be it in their AC-regulated offices or at home. And so, if an infected person walks into a room with people, there are high chances of the infection spreading.
“Human behaviour does its own bit to bring on infections during the winter. We tend to huddle and gather in smaller and closed spaces more when the temperature is down. We also tend to keep wearing the same summer clothes at the beginning of the winter and don’t appreciate that winters are approaching. Both these habits spread infections amongst a wider population faster”, he said.
According to a study published in the journal of International Journal of Preventive Medicine, in winter some areas have low or no sunlight. Due to this our body is not able to synthesize vitamin D which helps in making our immune system stronger–hence, making us prone to infections.
Now you know why winter months are a hotbed for infections, especially the common cold and flu. So wear proper clothes and eat your vitamins and minerals to build defense against viruses and allergens.
And if you feel a cough or cold coming on, trust an OTC preparation, like Hamard Joshina which features tulsi, mulethi, unnab, amaltas, and sapistan–along with 7 other herbs to give you much needed protection.