Why common cold and flu strikes in winter more? Here are some guidelines on causes, treatment, and prevention.
Are you planning to get your flu shot? Do your friends ask you this question dozen times by now? Then probably you saw a disdainful look if your answer was no. But why we all are thinking of getting cold, and flu shot this winter season, not in May? Is there a season of cold and flu? These questions must have bothered a lot of people, but we understood the answer only recently.
To know why there is flu season; we should first understand what flu is? It is a viral respiratory disease called influenza. Often flu makes people confuse with a common cold which is another virus because of their symptoms that include a cough, stuffy nose, and sore throat. However, with flue, you will get a fever, headache, and aches in the body, exhaustion and cold sweats and some gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and vomiting.
The flu season in the U.S. begins in October early and ends in March. So where there are winter, flu, and cold is there. But it is a misconception that flue comes from cold temperature rather it is a contributing factor. Here are some theories that show why cold and flu strikes more in winter:
- As people in winter spend most of their time indoors in closed windows, so they breathe the same air which is under contract with this virus of flu
- During the winter, days are short, and less sunlight with a low level of Vitamin D and melatonin need sunlight for a generation. It compromises our immune system, in turn, decreasing the ability to fight with the virus.
- The virus can survive better in dry, cold climate and can infect people more easily.
Now, we can have a deep discussion on a cold and flu viral infections for a better understanding of their causes, prevention, and treatment.
Most common kind of viral infections are cold and flu that found in human beings while undergoing some climate change or lifestyle. As said earlier common cold and flu are different infections, so there symptoms are also different.
But they are linked to one another while cold is mild and does not cause any chronic risk and flu can turn fatal with time and causes serious illness life threatening. Therefore it is important to know the difference between these two regarding causes, symptoms, test, risk factors and treatment methods.
Common cold medically referred to viral respiratory infection which is communicable and contagious. It means infection spread easily and swiftly from one to another. According to medical science, more than 200 types of viruses are there that cause cold. They enter the human body through mouth, eyes, and nose. Some of the common causes of cold are:
- Poor immune system
- Lack of sleep
- Season change
Flu is caused by virus influenza A, B, and C where A and B are commonly seen. Moreover, viruses that are active more change with the year, so every year new flu vaccine is developed. Same as cold, the flu is also communicable disease means people can easily get it when comes into contact with people infected by the virus. Factors that lead to catching influenza are:
- Lung Disease
- Eating unhealthy food
- Neurological condition
- Poor immune system
What about Antibiotics? If you think it will work for virus then no. It works only against infection due to bacteria. You want antibiotics when your nose starts running or a sore throat. But medical specialist says the vast majority of antibiotics are not for viral but for bacterial. But in some conditions you can call a doctor:
- If symptoms last more than two weeks
- If those symptoms get worse or develop any new symptom
- A sore throat with high fever means more than 100 degrees continuous for three days
- Experience acute chest pain and breathing problem
For treating your winter cold and flu, you can use natural remedies too if are not suffering from conditions above said:
- For a sore throat try a glass of warm water mixed with salt, you can gargle away. Salt can soothe your throat pain.
- Or add lemon juice to the warm water which we traditionally do for sore throat gargle. It creates an acidic environment for the hostile virus and bacteria.
- Chicken soup as all know is a very old household remedy used for years. If you are hearing it for the first time then I will tell you the reason, it can stop the white blood cells from assembling which causes inflammation and prevents forming more mucus. Hot soup helps to thin mucus and freshly added garlic chopped in it gives a powerful boost to the whole Garlic also helps in killing germs right away and stimulates the release of natural killing cells that are part of our immune system. If you like chili, then spike some flakes of red chili pepper to increase decongestant power.
- Try to be in a warm, moist and ventilated room to keep mucus loose
- Drink lot of water because you will be eating less
There are so many home remedies if you search, so some will work very faster and others may not. It all depends on each person immune system.
You can even take some prevention of these viral infections so that you can be healthy and enjoy New Year.
- Have a good sleep at night so that your immune system get rest and repair itself
- You can include fermented food along with a drink in the day to keep the system running very smoothly.
- Do you know by laughing or smiling once a day can also boost ones immunity? Yes, it is true, start trying today itself!
- Do you have thyroid, nourish it well to keep energy at up
So you can avoid antibiotics for cold and flu until you have acute bacterial infection other than viral or fungal. Conquer this winter cold and flu by taking more care of you and following the said guidelines.