It’s cold outside and everyone seems to be suffering from some sort of cold or flu. Winter is known as Flu Season for good reason, but why exactly are we more vulnerable to infection at this time of year, and what can we do to remedy the effects of the dreaded influenza?
Why Do We Get Colds During Winter?
There are numerous factors that gather together at this time of year, culminating in the perfect climate for germs and viruses:
- Cold – the very act of shivering depresses the immune system and makes you more likely to catch a cold; viruses also survive better in colder conditions.
- Dark – lower levels of sunlight in winter mean our melatonin and serotonin levels are altered, which negatively affects our immune system.
- Wet – viruses hand onto water droplets in the moist air and can survive for much longer as there are fewer breezes to blow them away.
- Central heating – having the heating on dries out the protective mucous in your nose, leaving you vulnerable to viruses.
- Staying inside – crowded offices, shops and public transport means the spread of cold and flu is much faster, and having the windows closed to trap in the warmth means germs cannot escape.
Common Ways to Treat Cold and Flu
- Stay hydrated – drinking plenty of water flushes out the infection in the body.
- Get some ZZZs – getting the right amount of sleep (7-8 hours for most people) and resting gives the body chance to fight any viruses, and will also reduce stress levels.
- Keep warm – higher temperatures kill infections.
- Paracetemol/ibuprofen – these common medicines may not kill the virus, but can lessen the nasty symptoms.
- Wash your hands – although misery loves company, it’s more polite to try not to spread infection to other people. Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer to avoid spreading germs.
- Hot lemon – with vitamin C to support the body’s defenses and speed up healing. Also helps to rest and relax, which also assists in overcoming viruses.
- Garlic – whilst you can go all out and drink raw garlic steeped in water, eating some garlic-y chicken soup can also fight flu, due to the immune-boosting compound allicin.
- Salt water – gargling a mouthful of salt water can sooth inflammation in the throat, as well as improving coughs.
Another way of battling cold and flu is to use infrared heat therapy, an effective remedy that utilizes infrared rays to kill infectious cells.
What is an Infrared Lamp?
Put simply, an infrared lamp is a red bulb that emits near and middle infrared rays. This bulb can penetrate 3 inches inside the body through the skin to kill infection and heal tissues – felt only as a gentle heat.
Benefits of an Infrared Lamp
- Virus, bacteria and parasites have poor tolerance to heat, compared to normal healthy body cells – the infrared rays attack the infectious cells and kill them, leaving the healthy cells untouched.
- Infrared rays can also improve circulation, hydration and oxygenation.
- Using an infrared lamp keeps you warm and has a relaxing effect.
How to Use an Infrared Lamp
- Sit 1 – 2 feet away from the lamp and aim it at the throat, lungs, ears or sinuses.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes – due to the warming effect of the lamp it’s possible you become relaxed enough to fall asleep!
- After 10 minutes, move around the lamp to target another area.
- Do not use the lamp for more than 1 hour at a time.
Other Benefits of an Infrared Lamp
- Relieves neck, shoulder, elbow, knee and back pain.
- Remedies skin rashes, blemishes and acne.
- Heals eye, ear and tooth infections.
- Assists healing and recovery post-workout.
- Do not use on the head area for more than 5-10 minutes at a time.
- Close your eyes and do not look at the bulb.
- Move the lamp if you feel a burning sensation.
- Avoid using on an injury within the first 24 hours.
- Do not apply lotion or oil before using the lamp as this can heat up and cause burns.
- Do not touch the lamp or bulb when it is hot.
- Handle with care, as infrared lamps and bulbs can be quite fragile.