As the temperature drops, so does our immunity. This is the reason why fall and winter are known as the cold and flu seasons. These months create a favorable environment for spreading cold and flu viruses. Colds and flu symptoms make us feel terrible and lower our productivity, but there are ways to fight back. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about the cold and flu season, including why these illnesses spike in the winter months, the benefits of getting a flu shot, and remedies to help you feel better.
What Causes Cold and Flu Cases to Spike As The Weather Cools?
The main reason cold and flu illnesses increase during fall and winter is the temperature and humidity change. Research has shown that these viruses can thrive in colder environments, and low humidity can cause nasal passages to dry out, making it easier for viruses to take hold. Furthermore, scientists suggest that during cold weather, people tend to spend more time indoors, which puts them in closer contact with each other, and that close proximity increases the likelihood of spreading germs.
What Is The Best Way to Prevent The Flu?
One of the best ways to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated. The flu shot has been shown to help prevent the flu by as much as 60%. The vaccine is particularly effective for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with existing medical conditions. For those with reservations about the vaccine, consider this: getting vaccinated not only protects you but also helps prevent the spread of the virus to others, especially the vulnerable population.
Remedies to Ease the Symptoms of The Flu or Cold
In case you still get the cold or flu, some remedies can alleviate symptoms. One of the most effective ways is to stay hydrated and drink fluids like water, juice, and soup. Water is beneficial to clear air passages and warm fluids like soup and tea will make you feel comfortable. Another method is washing your hands often with soap and water, avoiding touching your face, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
For a stuffy or runny nose, try a saline nasal spray to clear your nasal passages. To soothe a sore throat, gargle with salt water.
Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or Ibuprofen may help to relieve fever, aches, and pains. For coughs, consider trying a cough suppressant like Dextromethorphan. Rest is also important for healing from the cold or flu. Stay home and rest until you recover fully.
Take Care of Yourself This Season!
No one wants to be sick, especially not during the cold and flu season when it seems like every sneeze and cough can be dangerous. But, understanding why these illnesses spike and taking steps to prevent them can reduce the chances of getting sick. Getting vaccinated is an essential step in stopping the spread of the flu, but it's not just about you: it's about protecting the larger community, especially those who are vulnerable to severe flu symptoms.
And if you get sick with a cold or flu, remedies are available to help you feel better. Stay warm, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, and don't forget: wash your hands often.