The cold season is gradually creeping in and it is accompanied by low temperatures, sometimes below room temperature. The past few days have been cold and the cold weather comes with some illnesses if one is exposed to it. Medical experts have advised that keeping warm was one of the ways to prevent exposure to diseases that accompany cold weather.
A medical doctor, Newton Enyimba, stated that the cold season was due to the rains and was the prime time for the outbreak of certain communicable diseases such as cough, flu, upper respiratory tract infections, malaria, typhoid, and cholera as the rain flushes dirt into the rivers where some people drink from.
Apart from the above diseases, the medical expert noted that severe exposure to cold may perhaps predispose one to frostbite (when the tip of the fingers, nose, or earlobes become so cold that the blood vessels become constricted) which is common in cold regions and likely to cause death.
Also, an associate professor of medicine, Dr Aloysius Ikwuka, noted that it was necessary for people to keep their bodies warm during the cold weather to maintain vital body functions and to help immune system fight off various infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria which thrive in sub-room temperatures and could cause respiratory diseases that make breathing a little difficult. The medical experts have outlined some vital ways to stay warm during cold weather.
Wear warm clothing
Ikwuka advised that one should dress in warm clothes during the cold weather. “Wearing clothes made of wool or fleecy synthetic fibres helps to maintain body heat. Cotton is also effective if the garment stays dry. Wear several layers of thin, loose-fitting clothing rather than one thick one. Wear good-fitting socks and slippers in the house. Sweaters, blankets, and duvets are necessary household items in the cold weather. These help to cover our body and keep us warm,” Ikwuka noted.
Enyimba said that children were still in the development phase and must be kept warm to prevent them from hypothermia (low body temperature). He added that warm clothing, electric blankets, and heaters were necessary for warmth.
Avoid cold foods, drinks
We must make sure the foods and drinks we consume during the cold weather are warm enough for the body. Due to the cold weather, foods and beverages kept outside the refrigerator tend to assume room temperature and become cold.
Turn off air conditioners
Ikwuka opined that in the cold weather, use of air conditioners should be reduced. Some people who regularly use air conditioners during the hot season may find out that they can cope without the air conditioner during the cold or rainy seasons. Apart from the health implications, turning off ACs saves energy and money. “Children can develop an allergy or flu from ACs and fans,” Enyimba added.
A balanced diet will help keep one warm and healthy in the cold weather. Ikwuka advised that intake of at least one hot meal daily aids body warmth. One should ensure to eat a nutritious meal with one’s family which doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive to make or buy.
Exercise, stay active
“Staying active is good for your health,” Ikwuka noted. He added that if one engaged in walking, for instance, it could help to generate warmth. If the weather prevents you from getting outside, stay active indoors by catching up on all the household tasks you have been putting off and exercising too.
Stay in touch
The associate professor also said that staying in contact with friends and family, especially if one was stuck in the house for a few days due to the cold weather helps improve mood, lowers tension, and maintains feelings of being connected. He advised that one could reach out to and check up on elderly relatives or neighbours who might need help. He added that people in permanently warm places tend to be happier than their cold-weather counterparts.
Get an umbrella/raincoat
There are several reasons that will take one out of the house or keep one out late. It could be work, a party, whatever it is, it is essential always to have an umbrella or raincoat as it might suddenly begin to rain while one is still out. If one is drenched in the rain, then one is at risk of catching a cold.