Cold is only one factor in the fall in immunity in winter

Immunity decreases by cold combined with drier weather and more agglomerations, which predispose to various infections. Photo: Bigstock

A drop in temperature is just one of the factors that can lead to a decrease in the body’s natural immunity. For this reason, it is important to always be warmly wrapped, especially on the extremities, which are more sensitive to the cold.

“At this time of year, the air is also normally drier, which increases pollution, a factor that contributes to the increase in respiratory infections and can lead to a decrease in immunity”, explains the specialist in Lanac bacteriology, Marcos Kozlowski. Added to this are poorly ventilated environments, with a high concentration of people, and pneumonia, flu, colds and meningitis can occur, also leading to impaired immunity.

Staying hydrated is essential, and you can replace the water with hot tea, such as green tea, which acts as an antioxidant. As well as consuming foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which improves the fight against infections, and foods rich in selenium and zinc, which improve immunity. “As immunity is also seasonal, it occurs in cycles, if you are in a lower cycle naturally you will be more susceptible to disease and infection,” he concludes.

clean your house well

Spending more time indoors in winter can also promote the emergence of infectious respiratory diseases, that is, those caused by microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. If you are not careful with the hygiene of the house, you can find yourself exposed to respiratory immunological diseases.

They happen when your body overreacts immunologically to anything you are allergic to. “But you can avoid it with personal care and environmental care,” says Yasser Jebahi, otolaryngologist at IPO Hospital.

At home, the main substances that can trigger allergies are dust mites, fungi, animal hair and mold, explains the doctor. Therefore, proper cleaning of the house is essential to reduce contact with these agents. This means dusting the surfaces, cleaning the floor and keeping the environment always ventilated.

Another important point of care is the bed linen. As our skin tends to peel a lot, washing sheets and pillowcases at least once a week is essential to avoid the accumulation of mites that feed on this desquamation.

Vaccines are for the moment!

There is no good season for vaccines on the calendar, but the focus on preventing the most common and contagious diseases in winter is increasing right now, such as pneumonia and meningitis, explains Renata Quadros, nurse specialist in vaccination at the Clinique Vacinne. “The warning is for the increase in cases of respiratory and viral diseases, such as pneumonia, influenza and meningitis, diseases for which there are more than five types of vaccines available,” she said.

Among the most feared vaccine-preventable diseases is meningococcal meningitis, which is an infection of the membranes that cover the brain. As Renata explains, meningococcus is spread through respiratory secretions and saliva during close or prolonged contact with the carrier, especially between those who live in the same house.

“And as in the cold, the environments are more closed and with less air circulation, this contributes to the increase in the circulation of these bacteria,” he explains. There are vaccines against this disease for serogroups A, B, C, W and Y. “Serogroup B is now most prevalent in children. In all age groups he is second, behind C and ahead of W and Y. Type A no longer exists in Brazil, ”explains Renata. She adds that since vaccines take 7 to 14 days to immunize the body, it is best to get it done as soon as possible.

Winter increases the risk of Covid-19

The onset of winter sets the alert for the increase in cases of respiratory diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia, sinusitis and also for Covid-19. Fiocruz researchers are raising the possibility of a worsening of the pandemic in the coming weeks, due to the onset of winter.

It is also because the dry and cold weather favors a larger agglomeration of people, which facilitates the transmission of the coronavirus. According to infectious disease doctor Letícia Fiori Batista, in an interview with Agência Brasil, if you experience any symptom associated with respiratory illness, such as fever, runny nose, cough or sore throat, it is important to see a doctor. Evaluation.

To reduce the risks, the care instructions are as follows: get vaccinated against Covid-19, if it is your turn; get the flu shot [influenza]; wear a mask; favor open and ventilated places; keep your distance from others; maintain healthy eating habits and exercise regularly.

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