Winter holidays are traditionally a time for people of all ages to gather, whether for family gatherings, religious festivals, or social engagements. They are also a time when many people plan to travel, either domestically or internationally.
Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over, and we must all exercise extreme caution.
The researchers found that cold, dry winter weather can contribute to an increase in respiratory tract infections by weakening your immune system and promoting virus stability and transmission.
Although SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) spread widely throughout the summer, its basic reproduction number, or the number of secondary cases resulting from a primary case, is anticipated to drop significantly once population herd immunity is attained through vaccinations and natural infections. (A virus’s basic reproduction number serves as a gauge of its contagiousness.) The virus will be more susceptible to seasonal variations as a result.
Although COVID-19 is not yet regarded as a seasonal illness, the cold winter months are already causing behavior that raises the risk of transmission.
Expert advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 while enjoying the winter
- Make gatherings as secure as you can: Even small indoor gatherings can provide the virus with a platform for growth. If possible, celebrations and gatherings should take place outside, and those attending should keep their distance from one another and wear masks. Limiting group size and ensuring adequate ventilation by opening a door or window when it’s safe to do so are essential for lowering the risk of exposure if the event is held indoors.
- Include herbs and spices in your meals: In addition to improving flavor, they also have healing properties that are antibacterial and antiseptic and can shield you from viral infections. They are also abundant in antioxidants, which boost immunity even more. But always keep in mind that you should only take a small amount because every person’s body reacts differently and varies in terms of how much their body can withstand. Overconsumption can occasionally have a detrimental effect on health.
- Keep your hands clean: Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can lead to the spread of viruses. Frequent hand washing helps to get rid of viruses and other germs that might be present on the hands.
- Wear a mask: When virus-containing droplets are inhaled or come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth, masks help prevent infection and the spread of the virus.
- Keep up with routine exams and screenings for prevention: A routine checkup with your provider is a good way to confirm your health or spot a problem in its infancy, even if you feel in good shape. The most effective way to increase the efficiency of condition management and treatment is through early detection of a medical problem. Furthermore, those who are healthy seem to recover more quickly from COVID-19 and experience fewer complications or fatalities as a result. Therefore, maintaining good health is crucial throughout the year.
- As soon as you can, complete your vaccination course: The most crucial action anyone can take to prevent COVID-19-related severe illness and death is to get fully immunized with all of the available doses. For at-risk groups like people 60 years of age and older and those with underlying medical conditions, this is especially crucial. Most patients with COVID-19 who require urgent hospital care are unvaccinated. The COVID-19 variants Delta and others offer protection from serious illness and death. While the evidence is still developing, the new Omicron variant should also be protected against by current vaccines.
- If your safety is in doubt, stay home: It is advised to postpone travel to areas where community transmission is occurring if a person is sick, has not received all recommended vaccinations, does not have documentation of a prior infection, or is otherwise at increased risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 complications. This includes people who are 60 years of age or older and those who have chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. Regardless of their vaccination status, all travelers should be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms and signs and should always adhere to preventive measures.
- Manage metabolic disease: People who have co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, dyslipidemia, or respiratory disease, are more susceptible to Covid-19. Nowadays, leading a healthy lifestyle is necessary.
- Drink more water and practice regular exercise: Typically, people drink less water in the winter because they perspire less and lose less water. To maintain the health of your system, it is crucial to stay hydrated even in cold weather. Along with strengthening your immune system, water also aids in detoxifying your body from toxins. Along with drinking water, spend at least 30-45 minutes per day engaging in physical activity, such as yoga, aerobics, gym, walking, jogging, or cycling. Also, make an effort to include some effective breathing techniques.
- The more colorful your plate is with a variety of options, the more likely your immunity will be strengthened: Maintaining a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy. A nutritious diet to enhance your immunity include the following:
- Vitamin C promotes the formation of antibodies. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell peppers, and kiwi.
- Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, an anti-inflammatory vitamin that helps your antibodies respond to toxins like viruses. Beta-carotene is abundant in carrots, spinach, kale, apricots, sweet potato, squash, and cantaloupe. Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, eating foods high in healthy fats will help you absorb it.
- Green tea is high in antioxidants, which have been shown to improve immune system function. It also contains amino acids, which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells, reducing inflammation and aiding in the fight against infection.
- White blood cells, or WBC, which fight infections, need zinc to function. Lack of zinc frequently increases one’s susceptibility to the flu, colds, and other viral infections. Taking a zinc supplement is advised, especially for older people.
- Elderberries are rich in vitamins like vitamins A, B, and C, proteins, and dietary fiber in addition to minerals like phosphorus, potassium, iron, and copper. Elderberries’ antibacterial and antiviral properties aid in the treatment of influenza and colds.
- Vitamin D is necessary for immune function and aids in the regulation of the body’s immune response.
- Certain types of cheese that contain live cultures, also known as probiotics, help stimulate the immune system and aid in disease prevention.
- Here’s How To Enjoy Winter Chills Amid Covid Stings. Outlook Planet. https://planet.outlookindia.com/opinions/here-s-how-to-enjoy-winter-chills-amid-covid-stings-news-413700. Accessed 1/9/23
- How to enjoy the winter season and minimize COVID-19 risk: 5 tips for a safer holiday period. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/17-12-2021-how-to-enjoy-the-winter-season-and-minimize-covid-19-risk-5-tips-for-a-safer-holiday-period. Accessed 1/9/23
- 11 Extra Steps Chronic Illness Patients Should Take to Stay Safe from COVID-19 This Winter. Living with Arthritis. https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/coronavirus/daily-living/stay-safe-covid-19-winter-with-chronic-illness/. Accessed 1/9/23
- Omicron: 7 important tips to prevent Covid infection in winter season. Hindustan Times. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/omicron-7-important-tips-to-prevent-covid-infection-in-winter-season-101670149297238.html. Accessed 1/9/23
- You Are What You Eat: Choose Foods that Boost Immunity and Fight Infection. Health. https://www.uchealth.com/en/media-room/covid-19/boost-immunity-with-food. Accessed 1/9/23
- BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AGAINST CORONAVIRUS: HOW TO MINIMIZE THE RISK OF INFECTION? Narayana Health. https://www.narayanahealth.org/blog/boost-immune-system-against-coronavirus-covid-19-infection/#:~:text=Certain%20seeds%20and%20nuts%20like,nutrient%20absorption%20by%20the%20body. Accessed 1/9/23
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