Winter can be a chilling experience. Colder temperatures, gusty winds and snow – and bundling up to take it on – are all what can be expected in a typical North American winter. Even Florida can get frosty! No wonder so many of us like to head south for a beach vacation.
No matter where you live though, another common aspect of winter is catching a cold.
It would seem as temperatures continue to drop, the odds of you getting sick increase. Worse yet, even though you try your best to not catch a cold, all those around you have some sniffles, runny nose or cough. Is there any way to avoid getting sick this winter?
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Don’t forget to protect your nose!
The new study, from Yale University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has revealed the importance of keeping your nose warm to keep yourself healthy. That’s right, just as it’s important to wear a warm coat to protect your body, a hat for your head, and gloves to protect your hands, you may want to start keeping your nose warm under a scarf.
By examining the immune response in different temperatures, the researchers were able to discover that a colder nose increases the likelihood of developing a cold. Their findings were based on the activity of airway cells within mice. The rhinovirus – the cold virus – was examined in noses of mice at both body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius and again at a cooler temperature of 33 degrees Celsius. Turtle Fur - Double-La... Buy New $14.23 (as of 12:50 EDT - Details)
What the researchers concluded was that at cooler temperatures, the cells within the nose can replicate a cold and therefore increase the development of one actually occurring. When your nose is cold, your immune system is far less effective, and you’re much more likely to get sick.
To add to the risk, researchers say that at any one time, around 20 percent of us carry the rhinovirus in our noses.
Stay healthy by keeping warm
Carhartt Menu2019s A51... Buy New $24.99 (as of 09:45 EDT - Details) Previous research has also suggested that a cooler body can catch an illness more easily. Harvard studies have shown that when our bodies are warm, they are equipped to adjust to the environment around us.
When the temperature drops, our immune response becomes lacking – the cold makes blood vessels within our skin contract, so our blood doesn’t flow as readily to our extremities, like fingers and toes, which become prone to frost bite.
Harvard also notes that the flu virus, in particular, can linger much longer in colder temperatures. Likewise, the rhinovirus can thrive when it’s colder, so the chances of you catching it increase.
If you thought the notion of “being cold will catch you a cold” was just an old wives’ tale, you’ll have to reconsider. In the 1970s, researchers had debunked the theory, but modern studies have linked the two, as they continue to examine the nose as a gateway for illness.
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When it comes to avoiding a cold this winter, the simplest method is to make sure your nose is staying warm. When you head outside, for example, use a scarf to wrap around not only your neck, but your nose as well.
Some other great tricks are to keep your body as a whole nice and warm, so dress for the weather!
Sipping tea can help heat the nose and the body – breathing in the steam from a cup of tea stimulates the hair follicles in the nose which prompts the removal of germs. Adding honey to your tea gives you an added a boost of antibacterial power.
Alternative cold-fighters are ensuring you’re getting enough protein in your daily diet. Research has shown that people low in protein have weaker immune responses.
Along with stocking up on vitamin C, and making sure your work and living spaces are sanitized, keeping warm is a great method to make it through a healthy, cold-free winter.
Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.
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