(Author: Dr Amit Kumar Gupta, MBBS, MD, MBA)
Common cold can account for up to three years of the average person’s life! The reason behind this rather depressing statistic is not easy to pinpoint, and in contrast to what many believe, have nothing to do with the approaching chill in the air!
While it is the most common illness among humans it does not occur because of wet hair, stress, a change in temperature, cold feet, or bad weather. The fact of the matter is that when the weather
forecast is at a low, our immune systems are weakened making us more susceptible to cold attacks. Do not let colds and flu stop you this monsoon. Follow these tips and hints and you can continue to get more out life despite the weather forecast.
Hands are described as a germ factory for a reason, so be sure to wash your hands several times throughout the day using a sanitizer. While warm soap and water also work, make sure you do not rush the process and wash your hands for at least 30-seconds to kill all germs. Use paper towel to dry your hands and close the tap so that you do not come into contact with germs once again after washing them. Keep your hands away from your nose and mouth wherever possible so that they do not attract additional germs. And if you need to sneeze, try to do so in the crook of your arm so that the germs on your hands do not come into contact with your nose.
Exercise to build your immunity. Research suggests that by working out and making your heart pump a little faster you strengthen your immune system. If you are already sick, the general rule of thumb is that you can continue to do so if the symptoms are experienced above the neck, such as stuffy noses and sore throats. If, however, you have a temperature and are experiencing aches and pains in your body you should rest and give the gym a skip.
Eat and sleep!
Get at least six to eight hours sleep a night to prevent your immune system from weakening and making you more susceptible to colds and flu. Eating large quantities of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables supports your immune system so make sure your diet is designed to protect you.
Stay Hydrated & drink clean water!
Drink plenty of water and water-based drinks such as green tea during monsoons because the increased humidity makes us sweat more and leaves our bodies dehydrated & more susceptible to falling ill.
Take a shower if you get wet in the rain!
The shower will wash off any infection or germs that might have passed on to you. Also, avoid sitting in an air-conditioned room with wet clothes or hair so that you do not fall sick
Maintain a high level of personal hygiene!
Infection and bacteria multiply at an alarming rate especially during rainy season when the surroundings are already polluted, dirty and contaminated. Stay away from mosquito infested areas and avoid walking through puddles of water. Use an antiseptic soap & hand wash.
(The author Dr Amit Kumar Gupta is a medical specialist cum public health expert working as Senior Consultant – Medical Services & Quality at HCL Healthcare. He can be reached out at Amit_Gupta@hcl.com)