Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Winter woes – woolens and vaccines

I love winter. I love the drop in the temperature. I love winter fashion. I love the warmth the year end brings to our hearts with festivities. But I don’t love the dry skin, layers of clothes and most definitely falling sick in winter. More so, after becoming a parent, watching the little ones fall prey to flu is quite painful.

flu vaccine

If you look back, you’ll certainly remember dadima (grandmother) advising her brood of grandkids – “winters are here so wear a sweater, cover your ears & head, don’t go out with wet hair.” Was this this just some old wives’ tale? Not so much when you think about how cold & flu are more prevalent in the winter days.

Have you ever wondered, why we fall sick more often in the winter than summers?

Viruses, especially those that give us influenza, peak in winter. Studies have shown that influenza viruses are most stable in cool, dry temperatures. They are able to survive better and spread more easily in cooler air.

Winters are also the time when the body’s immune response changes. Due to changing temperature and daylight availability, the body’s exposure to natural vitamin D reduces greatly as compared to warmer, summer months. This weakens the immune system & so makes people more vulnerable to virus attacks.

Also, cold winter days usually mean that people spend time indoors with windows shut and only the heater for company. Lack of air circulation and dry, hot air from the heater means that the flu virus can survive and spread more freely.

However, this does not mean that in the warmer summer months, the influenza virus is not present. In tropical and humid weather conditions like our country, influenza is prevalent throughout the year. The incidence increases during winters of course.

How can you protect yourself from catching the influenza virus?

  1. Layer up, keep warm & toasty.
  2. Remember to catch up on precious morning light when there is an abundance of natural vitamin D. And for those of us who work in centrally air-conditioned offices especially, a coffee break in the balcony may benefit more than you know.
  3. Take a supplement which contains immune boosting ingredients such as Omega 3, Vitamin D, vitamin C. However, do remember to consult your doctor before this.
  4. Remember to hydrate. Unlike summer months, we don’t sweat or feel thirsty often in the colder months. But this shouldn’t impact your water intake. Remember to drink up to your daily goal of liquids. This can include soups, juices, green tea too.
  5. Maintain good personal hygiene. Wash & sanitize your hands after spending time in a public space. Advise your near and dear ones to use a tissue or handkerchief if they have the sniffles.
  6. Encourage people in your office to avail their sick leaves in case they catch the flu virus. Presenteeism is a very real danger in the working world today. It means a situation where someone is sick or unable to work to the best of their ability but is still in office. While the causes and remedies for this symptom are diverse, most often it is people down with cold and flu who still turn up and in turn spread the virus around.
  7. Take the flu vaccine. Every year the WHO recommends the appropriate vaccine for protection from the prevailing influenza virus. Its always a good idea to vaccinate yourself and those around you, especially children, older people and others with compromised immune systems.

In fact, the flu vaccine for my kids and me is the highest on my list as winter approaches. I am sure that with the vaccination done, I can enjoy all things winter with abandon and without worry.

#IPromiseToStopFlu. How about you?

Sources –

https://www.healthline.com/health/does-cold-weather-make-you-sick#central-heating

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080923/

https://flucamp.com/why-do-we-catch-colds-winter/

https://hbr.org/2004/10/presenteeism-at-work-but-out-of-it

1 Comment

  1. Great article! This is full of information for every parents struggling to take care this children from winter flues. Since baby’s skin is extra sensitive, it is also important to take care their skin as well. Here are the 5 simple winter care tips for your baby

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