Christmas may be over, but the cold and flu season is still going strong. It arrives as if by magic with the colder, darker days, and outstays its welcome long into the New Year. No matter where you go, it feels like there is no escape from sniffling strangers, coughing colleagues, and sneezing siblings.
With the average sneeze containing approximately 40,000 droplets and an average cough 3,000, it’s no wonder that viruses can spread so quickly. These droplets can reach speeds of over 200mph, travelling from one side of a room to another in a flash! Most of us spend a lot of time indoors and in closer contact with one another during these colder months, making it even more difficult to avoid these nasty germs.
To top it off, researchers have also found that smaller droplets can remain in the air for hours or even days, and are often more potent in dry air conditions. Considering how much time we spend in centrally heated houses and offices during the coldest months of the year, each and everyone one of us is most likely exposed to a vast array of these pathogens on a regular basis. Having the heating on also dries out the cells that line the nose and throat, making it even easier for these bugs to launch their attack.
Reduced levels of immune boosting vitamins can result in the body being more vulnerable to infection, leaving us feeling miserable, and reaching for the tissues and throat lozenges. Nobody likes feeling sick, which is why it is necessary to try to prevent becoming infected in the first place.
A healthy immune system is the best defence that the body has against bacteria, microbes and viruses. Vitamins B6, C and D, all positively contribute to a healthy body, and each play an important role in boosting our immune system.
Vitamin B6 is required for both mental and physical health and is crucial for the development and maintenance of the immune system, whilst vitamin C plays a significant role in enhancing immune cell functions. As the body itself cannot produce vitamin C, it is especially important to make sure we include enough vitamin C in our diet. In addition, during the short days in winter, a lack of sunlight can result in a deficiency of vitamin D, which plays a vital role in supporting the body’s immune system. Studies suggest those who suffer from asthma or emphysema may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency, making this a crucial vitamin for keeping illness at bay.
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