Immunity Health in the Winter
We know that many people get colds and flus more often in the winter time. But have you ever wondered why is this?
A few facts that contribute to this include:
- The flu viruses are more stable in cold air
- Low humidity helps the virus stay in the air.
- Our immune system requires humidity and water to move and transport in
TRUTH: Living in the Upper Midwest, we don’t have any control over the cold climate. But we can go into winter at our healthy best. Those with better circulation have an improved likelihood of a lymphatic response which means that there is a greater chance of their immune system attacking the viruses.
TIP: Exercise and good nutrition before winter means you’ll be healthier heading into winter. Better yet, make exercise and nutrition a part of your lifestyle year-round.
TRUTH: Most colds and flus are spread from mucosal sneezing and from our saliva. When there is more humidity in the air the viruses that attach to the water droplets will fall to the ground when the water is heavy due to higher humidity. When it is dry and there is an abundance of viruses in the air, which is makes them easier to breath in.
TIP: Add a humidifier to your house and increase the moisture in your nasal passages by going to steam rooms or doing neti pot. If you add a humidifier, run only a clean, filtered-based model. An air exchanger, or occasionally opening your windows in the winter to reduce the amount of recycled air in your home, which tends to have a greater number of germs and viruses in the air.
TRUTH: The more hydrated you are the better your immune system will function, the more dehydrated you are the more your immune system becomes compromised. While our circulation, or cardiovascular system is a closed system, our lymphatic system is an open system. The lymph system releases and collects fluid much like a pool pump will pull the water out of the pool and filter it. A good rule of thumb for hydration is to divide your weight by 2, and that is the number of ounces of water you should drink daily. A hydrated body functions better and fights viruses better.
Additionally, as we increase our circulation fluid is lost through blood vessels and is returned through the lymph system. The more sedentary we are, the more compromised our circulation and lymph system will be. To keep your lymphatic system operating well, get up and move every day.
Other tips to take care of your immune system, especially in the winter, include:
- Get proper sleep
- Manage stress
- Take a vitamin D supplement
The bottom line: pay attention to both your home environment, and your internal environment to maximize your immunity health in the winter.