Rev Up Your Immune System This Winter Season!
Excitement comes with the change of seasons from warm to cool, as inevitable as the falling of bright autumn leaves. The once sticky and humid air is now crisp and cool, hinting at evenings of hot cocoa by the fireside, and the anticipation of the upcoming holidays. However, cool weather can also bring about unwanted visitors: viruses and germs, which can lead to miserable winter bugs such as colds and flu.
These illnesses generally immerge during cold weather. Although the weather itself has not been proven to cause these common ailments, it can increase other causing factors. The chill of cold weather drives people indoors, increasing person to person contact in close quarters, which readily spreads nasty viruses. Frigid temperatures also encourage people to become less active, since they are able to perform fewer activities outside, such as yard work and outdoor sports. These factors weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illnesses. However, practicing preventative care can build up resistance against pesky winter sicknesses.
One of the leading factors of a weakened immune system is a high stress level. Stress produces the hormone cortisol, which in turn weakens the white blood cells' ability to fight viruses. Impending winter festivities can be particularly trying with the hustle and bustle of holiday gift shopping and traveling. During this time, it is especially important to get plenty of rest whenever possible, so that the body has time to physically and mentally repair itself.
Poor diet and exercise also contribute to a weakened immune system. These issues are also prevalent during the holiday season. It can be tempting to abandon sound eating habits to overindulge in sweets, snacks and other goodies. However, it is vital to include vitamin-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains in order to build the body's resistance against infections. Getting exercise can also be difficult when it is too cold to be active outdoors, so it's a good idea to find indoor activities, such as mall walking, to keep the body energized and resistant to those winter bugs.
Another way to shield the body from harmful germs is to avoid exposure to them whenever possible. Try to stay away from anyone who is sick. Frequent and thorough hand washing is a must, especially after any exposure to germs and bacteria. It is also important to avoid touching the face, since placing exposed hands near the eyes and nasal cavities is the most direct way to catch a virus.
Paying a visit to the family doctor is also prudent. Physicians can recommend vitamins and herbal supplements to further build the body's resistance toward illnesses. Using preventative care and paying attention to the body's needs are ultimately the most important steps to ready the immune system against the chill of winter.
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Now you know one of the secrets of staying in top shape during the flu season, its keeping your immune system functioning properly.
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