Winter time is cold season – what are the reasons behind this?

Winter icon image

©, Joshua Hanson

Winter is considered the time when a particularly large number of colds occur. But why is that and why do viruses have it particularly easy in the cold season? This article uncovers the various reasons, how to prevent colds and how to recover from colds quickly.

These factors contribute to frequent colds in winter

There are a few factors that can contribute to the fact that viruses have it particularly easy in winter and that people get sick more often in winter:

  • Lower Temperatures: Winter is the season when temperatures are at their lowest. Cold can help the lining of the airways constrict, making it easier for viruses to enter.
  • Lower Humidity: Indoor humidity is often lower in winter than in summer, which can contribute to mucous membranes drying out and becoming more susceptible to infection.
  • More time indoors: During the winter, we often spend more time indoors, where it's easier to get infected as we're crammed into tighter spaces.
  • Weaker Immune System: The immune system can be weaker in winter as we get less sunlight and vitamin D and our body is in a state of dormancy.

Tips to reduce the risk of illness in winter

Despite the increased risk of colds in winter, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of winter illnesses:

  • Washing hands regularly: This is one of the most important measures to prevent colds, so that viruses cannot spread.
  • Keep your distance and stay at home: Avoid infecting other people by staying at home when you are sick. Try to minimize social contact and keep your distance from other people when they are sick.
  • Good Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of catching a cold.
  • Get enough sleep: Make sure you get enough sleep to boost your immune system and give your body the rest it needs.
Red Apple
©, Priscilla Du Preez

Strengthening the immune system: Important tips

A healthy immune system is important to protect the body from infections and other harmful influences. The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues and organ systems that protects the body from infection and other harmful influences. It is made up of different types of cells that are specialized to perform specific tasks. This includes:

  • T cells: These cells fight viruses and infected cells and play an important role in the body's defense against infection.
  • B cells: These cells produce antibodies that target specific pathogens and help fight them.
  • macrophages: These cells are responsible for absorbing and destroying bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.

The immune system is supported by various organ systems, including the lymph nodes, spleen and thymus gland. There are also many other factors that affect the immune system, such as age, diet, stress, and physical activity. There are a number of things you can do to boost your immune system:

  • Eating a Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein can help boost your immune system.
  • Regular physical activity: Sport and exercise can strengthen the immune system by improving blood circulation and reducing stress.
  • Adequate sleep: Sleep is important for the body's recovery and repair process, including the immune system.
  • Avoiding Stress: Stress can weaken the immune system, so it's important to use stress-reducing techniques like yoga, meditation, or daily walks.
  • Flu Shot: The flu shot is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of flu and boost your immune system.

Differences between a common cold and the flu

Colds and flu (influenza) are both viral diseases that can cause similar symptoms, however there are also important differences between the two diseases. However, the symptoms are very similar:

Symptoms of a cold:

  • Sore throat
  • Sniffles
  • Cough
  • fever (rare)
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • body aches (rare)

Symptoms of flu:

  • Fever
  • headache
  • Muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Sniffles

The flu can cause more severe symptoms than a cold and is usually harder to get over. It can lead to complications such as pneumonia and is dangerous for certain groups of people, such as the elderly and those with certain chronic conditions. Because of this, there is a flu shot available every year that can significantly reduce the risk of contracting the flu. There is no specific treatment for the flu, but antiviral medications can sometimes be prescribed to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. at There are other helpful tips about symptoms and how to combat them.
If you're unsure if you have a cold or the flu, it's best to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment.

©, Manki Kim

Quick help for colds in winter

If you catch a cold despite taking the precautions, there are a few things you can do to start feeling better quickly and get over your cold quickly:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drink plenty of water, juice, and tea to stay dehydrated and to help your body recover. Ginger, thyme, fennel and sage tea in particular help with colds.
  • Get Rest: Give your body time to recover by getting enough sleep and rest. In this way, the body recharges its batteries and cures the cold more quickly.
  • Use nasal ointment: Nasal ointment can help moisten the lining of the nose and relieve symptoms of a cold.


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