Winters have surely arrived and with that out comes warm sweaters, woven scarves, and blankets. It is also a season to boost immune system and nurture our body. But with all those arrangements to keep you warm and cozy also come various diseases like asthma, cold, cough, chest congestion and other communicable diseases. While some of these illnesses are an outcome changing weather conditions, some of these also originate from cleanliness and hygiene issues that often get overlooked during this season.
Here are some quick health & hygiene tips for both kids and adults that should be kept in mind to keep diseases and allergies at bay:
- Bathing regularly – Yes, you read that right! A daily morning ritual that you tend to ignore during the cold has a hyperthermic effect on your body. Which means rinsing your body with a gentle soap like Savlon glycerin soap and warm water can heat up your body. Hyperthermic effect has a direct impact on your heart health and bathing regularly with warm water can help regulate your heart rate that often tends to slow down during winters.
- Well-ventilated rooms – Contrary to the popular belief of shutting doors and windows from cold breeze, it is important to allow fresh air and sunshine to penetrate in the rooms. There are millions of microbes that tend to multiply in constantly closed, damp rooms. So, opening windows and letting plenty of fresh and sunrays can work wonders.
- Washing your hands regularly – Most of the infections including respiratory allergies spread from one person to another through hands. Especially amongst younger children who don’t wash their hands as often as required. Bacteria can thrive on your hands and can be passed on to everything you touch, including food. So be sure that you and your kids wash hands after you’ve handled food, or after you have been to the bathroom. Use a disinfectant soap and remember to scrub your hands thoroughly for a minimum of 20 seconds as it is the scrubbing that removes germs, not the water temperature.
- Disinfection of surfaces – Coronavirus or any other communicable disease does not only demand a frequent hand wash and masks but also a wipe down of countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and common surfaces for that extra protection. These are areas that we often forget about while disinfecting our abode. Fortunately, it’s easy to get rid of the virus material from these surfaces with the various trusted brands like Savlon disinfectant spray or a simple wipe down with disinfecting wipes.
- Washing winter clothes thoroughly – Every time we come home from outside, we usually go straight into the shower and add the clothes we have been wearing to the ‘to be washed’ pile. This doesn’t work for winter clothes though, does it? In the area designated for ‘already worn’ garments, keep a clothes disinfectant spray handy. Moreover, before making your child wear woolen clothes, wash them properly with detergent and clothes spray so that the dust which may have accumulated from lying in the wardrobe for long gets washed away.
- Sterilizing comforters & blankets – Sunning blanket, comforters and dohars in an age-old ritual that is followed in every Indian household. It not only helps in cleaning dust mites, fungi and in severe cases mold formation but has proven to be effective in controlling cases of asthma and allergies during the season. Though alongside this, it is important to disinfect them too.
Apart from following this routine, it is critical to keep get rid of dust during winters. It is a time when most of us spend time indoors and hibernate for a few months until spring. Not following a consistent dusting regime can lead to high levels of respiratory and skin allergies. So, dusting commonly used surfaces, fans, tables and most importantly your heaters with a soft cloth can help a lot.
In a nutshell, good hygiene is key to avoiding spread of infections including COVID-19. Along with other important behaviors such as physical distancing, thoroughly washing hands often and at key moments is essential to controlling the pandemic. As they say, hygiene sahi to health sahi!
–Dr. Chaman Ram Verma, Dean at NIMS University (Jaipur). Retired Prof and Head (Pediatric Medicine) SMS Medical College, Jaipur