Why Are You Prone to Common Colds and Flu during Winter?

Man sneezingNow the fall and winter seasons are just around the corner; it’s time to get your immune defences up. You need to protect yourself against viral diseases such as common colds and flu.

Common Reasons

Two of the most common viral diseases in the world are common colds and flu. They can also occur any time of the year, but in the UK, they tend to be at their peak during January and February.

Why is this so? There are two possible reasons. One is low humidity, which creates a dry indoor air. It can then lead to the drying out of the mucous membranes of the nose, which helps act as a shield against viruses and other microorganisms. It can also make the throat feel itchy and scratchy. Moreover, it creates a good environment for viruses to thrive.

Second is the people’s behaviour. During the colder months, people tend to stay indoors more often. As viral diseases are highly contagious, others easily pass on their illness to the rest of their family members.

The Connection with Vitamin D

But there’s also one more reason why you’re more susceptible to colds and flu during these months: vitamin D.

A study by the University of Copenhagen showed how the vitamin helps in boosting the immunity by activating the T cells. These are the cells that don’t only look for threats but also destroy them. They, however, remain dormant unless they can detect vitamin D in the bloodstream.

There are different sources of vitamin D, but the best source is sunlight since it allows the body to produce a lot of it. For this reason, the amount of the vitamin the body receives during the colder months goes down, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the immune system.

How to Get Vitamin D

During autumn and winter, spend as much time as you can in the outdoors. You can also trade your sunscreen with Australian tanning products for about 30 minutes to an hour a day to allow your skin to absorb the sun’s UV rays.