Sore throats, itchy skin, aching bodies, and coughs that last forever: Welcome to the winter season. Winter is the time where our bodies are most susceptible to ailments and diseases. Whether it be a change in diet, location, or temperature and climate, the human body needs time to adjust to changes in our environment. This time of adaptation makes our bodies more prone to infections and sickness because our immune system is weak. As soon as there is a consistent drop in temperature, people begin to suffer from illnesses such as the common cold, sore throats, and the flu. The common cold is caused by a virus that first infects the nose, sinuses, and airways. It spreads through contact with mucus. When left untreated, colds can get extremely nasty. An untreated cold leads to swollen lymph glands, fever, aches, and chest congestion. Because colds are a virus, there is no ideal treatment, and no cure. Prevent the onset of a cold by taking a dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural immune system booster, and it is found in high doses in most citrus fruits. Don’t want to eat oranges all winter? Take a vitamin C supplement such as AirBorne or Emergen-C every day. They come in a variety of flavors and are usually found in the medicine aisle. Also, juices such as orange juice and grapefruit juice have a high concentration of vitamin C. Every year, between 10 and 20 percent of the population come down with the flu, or influenza. The flu is also a virus, however it first infects the lungs and airways. When left untreated, the flu could turn into pneumonia. The flu can be prevented in the same ways as the common cold, and additionally, several clinics and nearly all hospitals offer vaccinations to guard against the flu. The University Health Center offers flu shots for 10 dollars (call to make an appointment.) Some common body ailments in the winter time are those of people who suffer from arthritis and asthma. The cold air is difficult to breathe in, and people who regularly exercise sometimes have trouble taking in the air needed. Additionally, cold air and temperatures aggravate the joints of people with arthritis. They feel more achy than usual, and mobility is often more impaired as opposed to the summertime. The best treatment for both ailments is to prepare ahead of time for the winter season. Make sure the heaters or air conditioners are in proper working order so houses are comfortable. Also, taking a multivitamin during the winter will give a boost to your immune system and feed more nutrients to your joints and organs. Vitamins will help one’s body perform in better shape and help to make a better transition to the spring as well. Bundle up, stay warm, and take vitamins. Have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday.
Carola Giorno is a student at West Chester University and can be reached at CG633075@wcupa.edu.