Seasonal sickness is something that we all experience from time to time.
There are just some seasons that seem to have a negative effect on some of us, and others on others. For some people, winter is the time of year that they always get sick, and it’s impossible to avoid a sniffle in the rainier seasons, and for others the sweltering heat of summer poses the biggest threat to our healths. There are ways to avoid this seasonal sickness, however, and professionals such as Star Health GPs often recommend some common things to fight off these uncomfortable ills.
This is a broader term, and is used to refer to both the indoor temperature where you live, the outdoor temperature, and the temperature you usually sit at when clothed outside. Illness attacks most efficiently when our bodies are focussed on something else, which is why winter seems like a prime time for a cold or flu.
Your body is busy fighting off the cold and using up valuable nutrients and energy to keep you warm, so it exposes itself to infection. Keep yourself warm in the colder months, whether it be at home or out, and you’ll find your immune system doing it’s job a bit more consistently.
Next up are the things you eat.
Your diet has a large impact on your overall health, but it also has significant influence over the way your immune system operates. The more nutrients you get, the better your body functions, and this doesn’t just refer to food but rather to healthy food.
Eating nutrient starved food such as instant noodles or fast food all the time results in a deprived immune system which cannot protect you as well as a well supplied one can. This is why homemade chicken soup usually helps with illness, as fresh chicken and vegetables with a warm broth not only puts you in better spirits, it also gives you much needed fuel for your immune system.
As mentioned before, sickness takes advantage of any break in the armour to get to you, and this includes exhaustion. The less rest you get, the more your body is struggling to keep up with the demand you’re putting on it. The more you struggle, the easier you are to infect, and that’s why resting regularly and reliably is good for your immune system.
Fluids are just as important as nutrients when it comes to staving off that seasonal sickness, and the king among them is water. Water is the starting point for all life, so it makes sense that water is key to our survival and our health in general. Our bodies run the most complex systems on what is mostly water, so a dehydrated person is not operating at maximum capacity. You might not even know you’re dehydrated at any given moment, because the more time you spend not drinking water, the more your body adapts to a lack of water.
When another person is in your vicinity with an illness, quarantining yourself is a good defender mechanism. Don’t hug or kiss them, and wash your hands after direct contact with them. This will reduce the likelihood of contamination by whatever illness they happen to be carrying, and most people will understand if you don’t want a hug goodbye if they’ve got fluids running from different parts of their face.
Yes, stress is a factor in your physical health. Believe it or not, stress actually plays a large role in immune system responsiveness than many people realise, and it’s why you seem to get a cold right before you go on holiday or do that big presentation at work. Stress levels have a draining effect on your body, because you use more of your energy worrying about what’s going on, so less is used to defend yourself against germs and harmful viruses.
This knowledge is fairly simple to remember, and it’s nothing your GP wouldn’t tell you either, so take into account your nutrient, fluid, stress, and rest levels when you feel a cold coming on in future.