How to stay in the Pool and out of bed when the weather gets cold
Posted on February 05 2015
Why is it we all seem to fall victim to colds when the weather turns cold? According to the National Institute of Health, research indicates that the flu virus’s coating toughens when the temperatures drop around the freezing point. When the coat toughens it makes it easier for the virus to be transmitted. Germs make you sick, not cold weather itself, but when it gets really cold outside, it forces most people indoors. Some people think that the dry air that results from central heating makes it easier for cold and flu viruses to successfully invade and grow in dried-out nasal passages. While that may not be exactly the case, dry air may in fact play a role in allowing aerosol droplets from a sneeze to survive and thrive. So, here are a few tips for how to stay healthy during the winter so you can stay in the pool instead of staying home sick.
Check that Your Home Has Good Ventilation
Researchers at Virginia Tech have found evidence that good ventilation, as well as high humidity inside a home, can help to render the influenza A virus inactive.
Wash Your Hands
One of the best ways to prevent transferring a virus is to make sure you wash your hands frequently and always after using the toilet. Make sure you also cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you have to sneeze and then throw it away in a covered waste container. If you use a handkerchief, make sure you wash it out in hot water as quickly as possible. When you sneeze or cough into your hands wash them immediately.
Clean All Household Surfaces
During colder weather it is important to keep all surfaces clean-especially areas where food is prepared because germs and viruses can last from 3 to 7 days outside a host body before they die. Cold weather also toughens up the coat of a virus making them easier to transmit so keeping surfaces clean reduces the chance of a virus being transmitted.
Sleep is important for your immune system to stay strong and fight off infections. Make it a point to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night so your body has time to regenerate and build up the immune system.
During colder weather it is even more important to eat healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and grains that help bolster the immune system. Avoid processed foods, fatty foods and sugary foods. Sugary foods can actually lower immune function for up to five hours.
Exercise has been proven to enhance immune system function that can help to stave off sickness but keep exercise moderate because over-exercising or exercising too strenuously can actually make you more susceptible to illness.
Drink Your Water
Do not let yourself get dehydrated. It is easy to stop drinking water during colder weather but it is important to continue drinking during the winter months because dehydration interferes with the immune system’s functions. Drinking serves another important purpose. Drinking water can actually help to wash cold and flu viruses down your throat away from those all-important mucus membranes and into the stomach where they cannot survive.
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins are another way to help boost your immune system although there is no hard evidence that they can prevent the start of a cold or flu.
Dress Appropriately for Outdoor Activities
During the winter it is important to dress properly to avoid injury and illness. If the weather outside is slippery or wet, make sure you have good footwear that provides extra traction and protection. Staying healthy also means preventing injuries. If the weather is cold, dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves to help hold in as much body heat as possible. That means extra layers for those early 5am training sessions at the pool! When it is rainy, wear a water proof jacket and footwear.
Following these simple tips will help you stay healthy all year round so you can be swimming and enjoying the water every day.