Most of us look forward to winter. It is a season of festivities, delicious foods, cosy woollens, and blankets and it also brings a break from the terrible Indian summer. But this year, winter might not be a cause for celebration. In fact, scientists and healthcare experts are saying that the upcoming months are likely to make the COVID pandemic more severe.
India has just started flattening the curve. Infection rates are slowly decreasing. According to surveys, we reached a peak in late September. But all those advances may be reversed this winter.
Here are a few reasons why you need to be alert and cautious this winter –
Sky-high levels of pollution
The metro cities of India practically become gas chambers during winters. Pollution levels rise during these months because cold air is dense and moves sluggishly. That means polluted air cannot be blown away quickly. PM2.5 is lethal for your respiratory health. It enters the alveoli of your lungs and damages them. This weakens the lungs. Now, under these circumstances, if you contract COVID, you would be more likely to develop a serious lung infection.
Diwali – A festival of lights or a festival of doom?
Diwali is no longer just about lighting up our homes with diyas, fairy lights or LED candles. Now it has become more about setting off fireworks. Studies have found that exposure to fumes emitted by fireworks increases oxidation in the body. Oxidation can quickly kill healthy cells in your respiratory system. Moreover, fireworks contain metal particles like lead and can have a horrible impact on your throat and respiratory tract within seconds of breathing them in. Your respiratory health will be compromised to a great extent.
It’s the season of common flu
We’re sure that there aren’t many of you who can claim that you never catch the flu or common cold during the winter. What you may not know is that they can weaken your body. Common cold or flu is caused by a virus. Your immune system has to work hard to kill the viruses and many of your immunity cells die in the line of duty. It takes time for your body to produce fresh immunity cells. While your immunity is down, you are more likely to contract COVID.
People are not taking COVID seriously any more
The pandemic has been a part of our lives for many months now, and the extreme caution people had taken in the early stages is wearing out. Now that the news about the decreasing COVID infection rates has reached the people, many people are no longer bothering to wear masks or maintain basic COVID hygiene. This will not only increase their risk of catching this virus but yours as well.
So what can you do?
To safeguard yourself and your country –
- Continue following the COVID protocol. Wear your masks whenever you go out, sanitize and wash hands thoroughly. Don’t forget to maintain social distancing.
- Try to refrain from setting off fireworks. It causes irreparable damage to the environment and to the health of humans and helpless animals.
- To reduce air pollution, opt for public transport, carpooling, trains or metro wherever and whenever possible.
- Eat healthily, avoid junk food, and exercise regularly to build strong immunity.
Let us all be alert and follow COVID guidelines until the vaccine is ready. This winter season can be as fun as the previous years, but only if we are responsible.