Every year we witness a rise in common cold cases during the winters.
Studies too revealed that the common cold is the main reason for absence from school and work during the winters. In this blog, I will be explaining the scientific reason for the rise of the common cold in winters.
The common cold is often characterized by a sore throat, blocked nose, coughing, and sneezing. Studies revealed that there are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. While most of the time, the symptoms subside in 2 or 3 days, in some cases, medical advice is needed.
Also Read: Ayurvedic Treatment for common cold
Why common cold is so common in winters?
Common colds can occur any time of the year, but the cases reach their peak during the winter months. Scientists have discovered the connection between plummeting temperatures and increasing cold. Here are some of the scientific reasons:
Cold temperature impairs your immunity
Researchers say that cold weather adversely affects our immune system. A drop in temperature also slows down your metabolism and affects your digestion. This further results in a sluggish immunity and a slower response to the virus. In addition to that, viruses enter our bodies through the nasal passages. This reduces the immune cell’s ability to fight the virus in our nasal passages.
Lower levels of Vitamin D
During the winter seasons, the sun hardly shows. Further, because of the cold temperatures, we spend most of our time indoors. This results in very low vitamin D. Studies suggest that vitamin D plays an essential role in strengthening the immune system.
Also Read: Vitamin D supplement
Closed doors mean more virus
During the winters, we spend most of our time indoors. Research shows that the virus spreads faster within closed walls. The low air circulation and closer contact with people result in the faster spread of contagious colds. Also, spending more time indoors often means fewer physical activities and no exposure to sunlight. All these factors further impact the immune system.
Blood vessel narrows during the winters
Breathing in cold and dry air narrows the blood vessels in the upper respiratory tract. This helps the body to conserve heat. When the blood vessel narrows, it prevents the white blood cells from reaching the mucous membrane. This impairs the efficacy of our immune system.
Tips to prevent the common cold in winters
During the winters make sure to sip warm liquids throughout the day. Studies proved that drinking warm liquids can be soothing, prevent dehydration and ease congestion. Also, avoid dehydrating drinks like alcohol and sugary drinks.
Sip some ginger tea
The medicinal and healing properties of ginger are well-known for centuries. The active component gingerol in ginger has sedative, antibacterial, and analgesic properties. This helps combat cold and flu. Ayurveda says that ginger-cardamom tea is a very effective preventive against the common cold. You can also add different herbal teas of your choice to your daily diet.
Trust the power of Tulsi
Tulsi or the Holy Basil is known for its magical medicinal properties. Tulsi leaves are a great source of antibacterial and antiviral compounds that help boost immunity. During the winters, make sure to drink a cup of tulsi tea every day. This helps in warding off the risks of common cold and cough. You can also add ginger to your tulsi tea!
Turmeric milk is an excellent age-old home remedy that’s been tried and tested by generations. Turmeric is packed with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds. This is the go-to remedy for fighting the common cold, cough, and congestion. Boil the milk and let it cool. Once the milk is lukewarm, add a quarter spoon of turmeric and drink it at night!
Massage away your cold
Ayurveda highly recommends practicing regular body massages to improve immunity and fight viruses. Ayurveda says that massaging your feet with sesame or mustard oil before bed improves immunity, gut, and mental health. Sesame oil or mustard oil keeps you warm and calms your mind. This further relieves stress and improves your sleep.
Check your sleep cycles
Maintaining a disciplined sleep cycle is very crucial during the winters. This helps boost your immune system and keep diseases at bay. Staying awake till late at night also exposes your body to cold temperatures, which can increase the risk of cold and flu.
Practice steam inhalation
Inhaling steam is a great way to relieve congestion and improve immunity. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Practice it regularly to prevent an episode of cold and cough.
Here are a few more tips that can help
- Avoid late bathing during the winters.
- Eat seasonal foods that are suited for your body.
- Maintain distance from sick people and practice safety.