Pretty much as we all love rains, well so do the viruses and bacteria! While the viruses responsible for cold and flu are usually present all around the year, the rainy season seems to offer the most conducive environment for them to flourish. The damp and humid rainy season plays a perfect host to the infections that can disrupt your social life and work.
Generally, there are no cures for colds or the flu, so prevention is the best approach to mitigate the disturbance that these cold and flu virus may cause to your physical and mental wellbeing.
- How to Prevent Cold and Flu?
- What are the Symptoms of Cold and Flu?
- What can You do to Limit Your Exposure to Cold and Flu Viruses?
- What can You do to Stay Healthy During the Rainy Season?
How to Prevent Cold and Flu?
It’s a given that you need to be especially careful about hygiene in the rainy season, as the cold and flu viruses are contagious. Here are some health tips that can help you prevent cold and flu during the rainy season:
1. Get flu vaccines
The flu vaccine is indeed the best protective and preventive measure against the cold and flu related complications. Getting vaccinated reduces the risk of flu-related concerns and placate the severity of its symptoms.
2. Increase the Intake of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to support a healthy immune system and its deficiency can make you prone to getting sick. Often, vitamin C is touted as a cold remedy. So, include vitamin C in your diet by adding up a generous amount of bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, sprouts to your platter.
3. Use Cool Mist Humidifiers
Low humidity air causes dry and itchy nose and throat as overheating dries out the nasal passages. It also offers a favorable environment for bacteria and viruses to thrive. A good humidifier or vaporizer can help reduce the survival of flu viruses in air. Regulate the indoor humidity level between 45 and 55% to avoid overheating and dryness indoors.
4. Exercise Regularly
It’s a proven fact that regular exercise reduces the number of illnesses. It aids in improving the immune function and keeps you fit. People who indulge in regular physical activities are generally a healthy lot.
5. Stress Less
Stress is said to release cortisol, or the stress hormone. However, constant release of cortisol may lead to depression and anxiety. Excessive stress greatly hampers the health and affects the immune system negatively. Stress makes you more prone to getting sick often. It is, thus, advisable to manage your stress well and practice meditation to calm yourself down.
6. Sip on Herbal Teas
Most of the herbal teas such as green tea, peppermint, sage contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, which prevent cold and flu symptoms and promote good health.
7. Maintain a Healthy Gut
High humidity level in weather affects the digestive system and may lead to an upset stomach. A healthy gut is responsible in protecting the overall wellness of the body, as about 80% of the immune cells of the body reside in the gut. So, maintain a healthy gut by making right eating choices.
Further to the preventive tips mentioned here, it is highly recommended to cut back on alcohol and smoking. Alcohol consumption and smoking may increase your exposure to viral and bacterial infections.
What are the Symptoms of Cold and Flu?
The sudden change in weather due to monsoons cause fluctuations in temperature that result in cold and flu. As the body is vulnerable to the cold and flu virus in this humid climate, be aware of the symptoms that include:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Sore throat
- Muscle ache
Usually, the cold and flu symptoms can be managed at home but can be contagious for about two-three days at the beginning of the illness.
What can You do to Limit Your Exposure to Cold and Flu Viruses?
There are ways to limit your exposure to the cold and flu viruses. To ensure your health and safety, you should ideally:
- Avoid crowded places: Many people may still go to work when down with a cold or flu. In the crowd, it becomes difficult to identify people who’re sick. It is, thus, only prudent to avoid crowded places.
- Wash your hands frequently: The importance of good hand hygiene cannot be emphasized enough. Viruses commonly enter the body when you touch your mouth or nose with infected hands. Clean hands reduce your chance of being exposed to infections and viruses. So, wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer (in the absence of water and soap).
- Stay dry: While splashing in the rains indeed seems a romantic idea, staying drenched for hours is not so much. The more you keep yourself dry and warm, the less are the chances for you to catch a cold or flu.
- Disinfect the surfaces: Use disinfectants containing alcohol to wipe clean the doorknobs, telephones (even your mobile phones every now and then), countertops, keyboards as the flu viruses can thrive on such surfaces.
What can You do to Stay Healthy During the Rainy Season?
Ayurveda explains how the rainy season can cause havoc to your body if not careful. This season aggravates the doshas that mainly cause diseases during monsoon. You can make some diet and lifestyle modifications to stay healthy during the rainy season. These changes include:
- Adding ginger and honey to your diet.
- Avoiding uncooked food, leafy vegetables, and salad.
- Staying away from stale food and eating warm, home-made food.
- Consuming light food prepared from barley, rice, wheat, and green gram, lentils.
- Avoiding curd, red meat, or heavy foods that take a long time to digest.
- Including in diet adequate probiotics such as buttermilk, cheese kefir, cultured vegetables.
- Avoiding overexertion.
- Avoiding daytime naps, as it can slow down metabolism and affect digestion.
Monsoons can be a pleasant experience if you pay a little extra attention to your health. Don’t let the cold and flu get the better of you this rainy season. Stay healthy and enjoy the rains!