Staying bedridden, feverish and wacky, is not a bright prospect, especially during the holiday season. There are a few precautions you can take to protect yourself against winter viruses. Gastroenteritis – How to protect yourself from Cold Flu?
- Why are we more vulnerable to viruses in winter?
- What to know to limit the risk of contamination
- Get the flu shot
- Beware of sanitizing sprays
Like every year, autumn and winter often come down to a giant slalom between colds, flu and gastroenteritis, the game of avoiding one so as not to fall into the clutches of the other.
Everything begins in fact around October with the first attacks of respiratory viruses, mainly rhinoviruses. These cold providers then give way to the flu, whose epidemic usually starts during the Christmas holidays and continues until March-April. For children, the bronchiolitis season, caused by the respiratory syncytial virus, begins between October and November.
Why are we more vulnerable to viruses in winter?
“Respiratory viruses, like the flu virus, are more resistant when temperatures are low. They survive longer. There is, therefore, a greater risk of infection, ” say experts.
In this season, humans are easy prey for microbes.
“The cold lowers our immune defences and irritates the nasal mucosa, which makes us more susceptible to infections,” confirms the biologist. Another favourable factor: promiscuity. Cold, wind and humidity encourage us to protect ourselves in confined and often poorly ventilated places. This is equivalent to shutting yourself up in a culture broth.
How to protect yourself from Cold Flu
What to know to limit the risk of contamination
- Firstly, respiratory viruses, but also gastroenteritis viruses, transmits by coughing, sneezing and by contact with contaminated hands. Small, simple gestures allow you to protect yourself effectively.
- Secondly, Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or outside with an alcoholic solution.
- Thirdly, put your hand in front of your mouth or in front of your nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Whatever the weather, continue to ventilate your home, morning and evening.
- Blow your nose. As the nasal mucosa acts as an air filter, it retains dust and pollution. This is why experts recommend “blowing your nose every morning, one nostril after the other, but not too hard not to propel the microbes towards the sinuses and the ears”.
- Lastly, Change your toothbrush after infection, flu, sore throat or simple nasopharyngitis. As the toothbrush stays wet after being rinsed. It provides an environment favourable to the proliferation of microbes.
- How to protect yourself from Cold Flu
Consider getting the flu shot
It is true that prevention messages are blurred by the relative ineffectiveness of certain editions of the vaccine (as in 2014-2015). The composition of the vaccine is determined each year by the World Health Organization according to the circulating influenza viruses.
Beware of sanitizing sprays
It is tempting to spray deodorants and other “sanitisers” to purify your home. But scientific studies show that these sprays can be harmful to health.
“We have shown that regular use of sprays for household use, especially against bad odours, is associated with a higher number of asthma symptoms in women. “
Exposed during pregnancy, their children are at a higher risk of having respiratory symptoms. The problem could come from perfumes and their diffusion in aerosol . The volatile organic compounds thus propelled into the air penetrate deep into the respiratory tract. Particularly irritating, these fine particles would also impair cardiac function.
How to protect yourself from Cold Flu
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