According to popular belief, it is not the cold itself that makes us ill in winter. Rather, when it is cold, we are more likely to catch respiratory infections. This applies to conventional corona and rhinoviruses as well as to Sars-CoV-2 and influenza pathogens. There are many reasons for this, and at the same time they give us the chance to actively do something for our health - far more than the usual hygiene measures:
In winter, people spend more time indoors, where viruses released by sick people remain more concentrated. Regular airing, which is often forgotten in winter, is therefore essential.
Exercise in the fresh air
The UV radiation of the sun is too low in winter to kill the viruses. It is therefore all the more important to be physically active in the fresh air - like a daily walk to get the circulation, the psyche and the immune system going. The winter sun in particular should be enjoyed outside as often as possible, because sun exposure of our skin is absolutely essential for the body's own production of the immune-boosting vitamin D (see "Vitamin D in the spotlight" www.rauch.cc/at/blog/healthy-lifestyle/vitamin-d-im-rampenlicht).
Sufficient relaxation and sleep
Chronic stress and a regular sleep deficit weaken our immune system. Conversely, sufficient sleep can reduce inflammatory reactions. So the dark season can also be used for more relaxation and comfort - our immune system will thank us for it.
No cold hands and feet, please
Even if the cold temperatures are not directly to blame, we should avoid chilling our hands, feet or even our nose in particular. This can make our organism more susceptible to respiratory viruses. For example, studies show that our nasal mucosa is very sensitive to temperature changes. A cooling of the nasal cavity, which is often the first point of entry for cold pathogens, can weaken protective mechanisms. A targeted, controlled use of temperature stimuli, such as in alternating showers or barefoot walking in the snow, can conversely also give our circulation and immune system a healthy kick - assuming warm hands and feet before and after use!
Immune boost through healthy nutrition
Most of us know that a good supply of vitamins and minerals plays an essential role in the body's immune defenses. Fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts in particular are "power foods" that provide vitamins A, C and E, which are especially important for the immune system, as well as the minerals zinc, iron and selenium. But they also contain a concentrated load of highly effective "secondary plant substances", of which around 100,000 different substances have now been discovered. (see "Concentrated plant power" www.rauch.cc/at/blog/healthy-lifestyle/geballte-pflanzenkraft)
Well hydrated is half the battle
In addition to many nutrient-rich foods, a sufficient supply of fluids is a big plus, because viruses and bacteria settle particularly easily on a dry nasal and throat mucosa. Ideal thirst quenchers such as water, mineral water, and unsweetened teas or strongly splashed fruit juices are to be preferred over sugary drinks.
Low sugar not only protects against obesity
According to recent evidence, a general reduction in sugar is also helpful advice because of possible positive effects on the immune system. This is because sugar could be needed by certain immune cells for undesired, excessive immune reactions. In the process, the body's own messenger substances (cytokines) are released unchecked, leading to inflammation in the body, tissue damage and, in extreme cases, death. Some flu or Covid 19 patients also suffer from immune system disorders, the causes of which are still unclear. High blood sugar levels and the presence of overweight or diabetes could in any case increase the risk of such immune reactions and severe courses of the disease. Now is a good time to use the still young new year to implement some of these measures - don't you think?