Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep, and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.
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If you think the summer season is over and so is the threat of Covid-19, think again! As per an expert, the winter season can increase the chances of contracting this virus.
If you believe that the chilly winds during the winter season will drive away Covid-19, you are highly mistaken. In fact, it is the other way around. Turns out, you are more prone to coronavirus during the winter season.
Here’s why you are on the radar of Covid-19 during the winter season
According to Dr Pritam Moon, consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospital Mira Road, the major cause of Covid-19 spreading during the winter season is temperature. She says, “Colder weather is synonymous with cough, colds, and other serious respiratory illnesses. Now, Covid-19 is also giving us a tough time.”
Here are some reasons why this virus starts to act funny during this time:
The virus easily adapts to the cold weather
The SARS-CoV-2 virus tends to easily adapt to cold weather. A thicker outer membrane is developed, making the virus potentially more available to spread. That is why there is likely to be a spike in Covid-19 cases during the winter season.
1. Low humidity can be another cause
It has been widely reported that the Covid-19 virus survives in cold and dry air, decreased sunlight and low humidity. Unfortunately, this is how the winter season looks like! Furthermore, low humidity tends to increase evaporation of respiratory viral droplets into smaller aerosol particles that remain in the air for a longer period of time. This means there is a high risk of airborne transmission during the winter season. That is why there is a high viral load during winter. So, as the humidity decreases, Covid-19 cases are likely to increase.
2. Staying in enclosed spaces
Spending increased time indoors and overcrowding during these chilly months is another big reason. Low humidity enables the influenza virus to live longer indoors. During the winter season, we spend more time indoors and in closer contact – this significantly increases the risk of transmission and infection.
3. Poor ventilation
People use heaters in their houses to beat the cold, and the air is often dry. Indoor conditions during the winter season are pretty favourable for viral stability, which is why it is likely that the majority of people could get infected with Covid-19. Yes, that’s right! Some indoor spaces such as shops, restaurants, and homes are not properly-ventilated, allowing colds, flu, and other respiratory illness like Covid-19 to spread easily.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during this time
Get the flu shot as recommended by the expert: The flu can be termed as a viral infection that tends to attack the respiratory system, just like Covid-19, and both share similar symptoms that can be confusing. Thus, if the majority of people take the flu shot, fewer people will fall sick with the flu and that will also reduce hospitalization rates. So, do not skip the flu shot.
“Get vaccinated for Covid-19 and if you haven’t got a jab as yet, it is the right time to get your shot. It can reduce the severity of the disease, morbidity rates and one may not require any hospitalization,” recommends Dr Moon.
Wearing a mask is another essential during this time: You have to be more careful, and mask up indoors when there are too many people, or there is poor ventilation. Avoid going to crowded places and do not be near sick people.
Other things that you can do are:
- Wash your hands
Do it from time to time to kill the germs and bacteria present on the hands, which can enter your body via the nose, mouth, or eyes. Use a good hand sanitizer as well.
- Social distancing can do the trick
Try to maintain a safe distance from your family members, even at home. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, furniture, countertops, and faucets.
- Go for regular check-ups
Those who have comorbidities like diabetes and high blood pressure should monitor themselves from time to time. Take medication as suggested by the doctor.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise daily at home
Try to opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lentils, and exercise every day to boost immunity.
So ladies, DO NOT take it easy during the winter season, because Covid-19 won’t spare you at all!
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