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How to prevent colds and flu in the rainy season

The rainy season comes as a sound of relief from the heat and hot seasons; talk about sunburn, heat rash, not being able to comfortably sleep and even the sweating that ruins your perfume. Although that sounds like a breath of fresh air, the rainy season comes with its own troubles as well as many bacteria and viruses fill the air causing coughs, colds and flu commonly known as catarrh. In Nigeria at the moment, we know we’re in the rainy which is about winding up but it’s never too late to arm oneself with the appropriate knowledge and information and since the season comes every year (from April to September), it’s important to stay ever ready to avoid constantly falling ill.

But did you know that it’s not the rain or cold breeze during such periods that make us fall ill, instead it’s being exposed for long periods being wet or in the cold that lowers the body’s temperature thereby lowering the immune system. Our immune system is the natural defenses that help fight off foreign bodies that cause us to fall sick so that our bodies aren’t weighed down by the effect of their invasion.

Being caught up in the rain doesn’t essentially make you sick because viruses can’t be transmitted through the downpour. The flu-causing agents (viruses) are transmitted via an infected person’s body fluids probably when they cough, sneeze, misplace their handkerchiefs or tissues and even touch surfaces that other people have access to. That’s why it’s important to engage in hygienic practices that will prevent others from falling sick as well and be sure not to be in overcrowded places where there’s little or no access to ventilation.

Here are a few proven tips we’ve put together to help you stay protected during the rainy season:

  1. Give your immune system a boost: a healthy immunity equals a healthy body so it’s vital our immune system is actively at alert to ensure we’re well protected. Eating well (foods like spinach, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, avocados, etc..) and exercising are such good ways to build our immune system; exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous for it to be effective; anything from long walks and light jogging can go a long way.
  2. Increase your intake of Vitamin C: Nigeria is blessed with a vast supply of fruits that are loaded with vitamin C that are also affordable; from oranges to pineapples, grapefruits, lemons and many others. Taking Vitamin C supplements can also be helpful and if you are like me doesn’t like sour things, because I can see you squeezing your face already, hahaha…you can get the flavored ones. Vitamin C does prevent catarrh directly, but it speeds up recovery and reduces the severity when you get it.
  3. Practice good hygiene and proper hand washing: remember the things we’re taught when younger? Cover your mouth when coughing, sneeze into your elbow, wash your hand after using the toilet or after handling dirt, all these are still very much effective. Importance to practice these so as to keep yourself and others safe. Hand washing is a non-negotiable practice as we’re constantly in contact with surface everywhere and those are great hiding spots for viruses.
  4. Make water your friend: I’ve had many people complain of how they can’t drink water because it doesn’t taste ‘nice’ but the benefits outweigh its ‘niceness’. Water helps in the transportation system of our bodies and also helps flush out harmful toxins, so staying hydrated is always a plus and since its rainy season try consuming more of warm water to keep the system actively running.
  5. Try stay warm: avoid being drenched in rain for extended periods so there’s no rapid drop in your body’s temperature which will give easy access to viruses. If you’ve been under the rain, make sure you have a warm bath and get into some warm clothes.
  6. Ensure proper ventilation: crowds are often found in buses and on queues and these are places with a mixed population of people; both healthy and not so healthy. So it’s important to maintain safe distances and open up windows in buses and crowded rooms so as to ensure cross ventilation.
  7. Get enough sleep: oh my, quality sleep is very much underrated, it’s not just part of a daily routine but it is essential so as to keep your body up and going. During sleep certain protein components that help regulate our immune system are being produces, so if one doesn’t get enough sleep or no sleep at all, there will be a decrease in the strength our immune system.

 

Having a great insurance cover is one of the best ways to ensure you get quality access to healthcare at affordable prices to meet your budget in case you have to see a doctor or get medicines from a pharmacy. This helps safeguard you from expensive and constant out-of-the-pocket costs that occur due to seasons like these. We at HCI HMO have the best packages available to have you covered and our plans can be accessed following very easy steps.

Have any questions? Please be free to interact with us in the comment section.

HCI Healthcare Cares!

Written By:
Rebecca Adeleke-Adesanmi, BSc. Nur., MA, Healthcare Mgt.
Health & Wellness Advocate,
HCI Healthcare HMO

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