The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, you’re finally wearing shorts again, and—you’re sick. How could that be?
Unfortunately, it’s quite possible to get sick during Springtime. There are several reasons for this. First, you’re out socializing more, often after weeks or months of more isolation due to colder weather. Temperatures can also vary greatly from day to day and even within the same day. You may find yourself not dressed properly for the conditions.
If you do become sick, a visit to your neighborhood urgent care center can be a quick and effective way to get treatment and reduce symptoms, so that you’re back on your feet before long. But even better is avoiding that Springtime cold altogether. Here are a few steps you can take to stay cold-free.
1. Be social, but be careful!
Your springtime cold may be more a result of behavior than biology. When it’s cold outside, people tend to stay indoors and not socialize as much. When the temperatures go up, they get out of their homes and spend more time with others. This interaction often means being physically close to other people, which increases the transmission of cold and flu viruses. When you’re socializing in the spring, make sure you’re washing your hands often and keeping your distance from sick friends and colleagues.
2. Be prepared for temperature changes
Spring is often characterized by significant shifts in temperature. One day it’s a beautiful 65°F, the next it’s barely 50°F. It’s easy to find yourself ill-prepared for the drop in temperature, and this can upset your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to a cold.
What’s more, after months of wearing multiple layers and jackets, you may be eager to throw on shorts and a t-shirt. However, make sure you’re dressing for the actual temperature outside and not what it appears to be or what you want it to be. Wear layers that you can take off or put on over the course of the day. Keep a scarf and sweater or jacket on hand just in case.
3. Maintain good hygiene habits
Just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean you can stop the good habits you had in winter. It’s still very important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Drink lots of water because a dry throat and nasal passages make it easier for bugs to creep into your system. You don’t want to end up at the doctor’s office or urgent care center!
4. Reduce stress
This is, of course, good advice for everyone in all seasons. Stress and anxiety lower your immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels; these are antibodies made by the immune system to fight viruses, toxins, and bacteria. Reduced IgA levels leaves you more vulnerable to illness. Make sure you give yourself downtime; run, do yoga, read books, play with your pets, hang out with your friends.
Having a cold is never fun, but it’s especially awful when the weather is beautiful and you’re stuck inside. It’s important to stay vigilant in the spring. Wash your hands often, keep your distance from sick friends and acquaintances, make sure you have warmer clothes on hand in case the temperature changes, and try to keep stress levels low. Now get out there and enjoy spring!