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Second wave of COVID-19 likely in winter: 6 ways to boost immunity during cold and flu season

Coronavirus may function like other flu viruses which thrive in winter conditions, say experts.

Experts are warning that the onset of winters could lead to a sudden jump in the number of coronavirus infections. So, brace yourself to prevent COVID-19, as well as cold and flu by boosting your immunity.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : October 27, 2020 11:43 AM IST

India recorded 36,604 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, the lowest in more than three months. The case fatality rate also dropped to 1.50 per cent on Monday, the lowest since March 22. In fact, India has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world, according to the Health Ministry. The COVID-19 recovery rate in the country has also gone up to over 90 per cent. But this sense of security may be temporary, as experts have warned of the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 in the winter season.

Recently, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also expressed concerns that the onset of winters could lead to a spurt in coronavirus cases, as he urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour during the coming festival season.

Russia and the United Kingdom are already hit by the second wave of Covid-19 aggravated by winter. There is no reason to dismiss the possibility that India may experience the same, said Vardhan.

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Here' what experts say about the second COVID-19 wave

Many experts have also warned of the epidemic surge during the winter season if the standard protocol was not followed properly.

Speaking to a leading newspaper, Prof Jagat Ram, Director, PGIMER, Chandigarh, noted that respiratory viruses thrive better in cold weather and low humidity conditions, suggesting the probability of another wave of COVID-19 in the winter season. He also warned that the situation can go out of hand if precautions are not taken. Therefore, the expert urged people to be extra cautious during the festival season and practice social distancing.

A modelling study by the researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had predicted in July that India may record about 2.87 lakh projected cases of the novel coronavirus per day by the end of winter 2021 in the absence of a Covid-19 vaccine or drug interventions.

The COVID-19 expert panel, headed by Niti Aayog member VK Paul, also asserted that India must be ready to face a second wave during the winter.

How to boost your immunity during winters

Although the novel coronavirus has shown no behavioural change so far because of the season change, it is expected that the virus will become more active during winter as the mercury dips. There has been an increase in the number of cases in countries where the temperature has started dipping.

It is also assumed that coronavirus may function like other flu viruses that thrive in winter conditions. The rising pollution levels in major cities are likely to aggravate the condition, especially for people with respiratory problems.

Data suggests that people with stronger immunity are able to fight the infection better. So, here are some tips to boost your immune system to help your body be better prepared to fight and minimize the risks of COVID-19, as well as cold and flu.

Eata healthy balanced diet: Add a variety of foods in your meals- fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. The nutrition in these foods will help keep your immunity at its best.

Add herbs and spices to your food: Not just herbs and spices enhance the taste of food, but they also have antibacterial and antiseptic healing properties that can protect you from viral infections.

Drink enough water: Usually, people drink less water during winter, but that's where we all go wrong. It is important to stay hydrated during colder weather to ensure that your system stays healthy. Water also helps cleanse your body of all the toxins as well as strengthen your immune system.

Stay physically active This doesn't mean you have hit the gym or join a fitness class. You could simply take a half-hour walk every day. Staying physically active can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. Exercise can also delay the aging process and improve your appearance.

Cut back on the sugar: Limit consumption of sugary foods and switch to natural sources such as fresh/dried fruits. Sugar has the tendency to cause inflammations in the body, which can weaken your immune system.

Stay sober Drinking alcohol is known to suppress the immune system and this can make you more vulnerable to viral infections, including flu, colds and COVID-19. Drink more fresh fruit juice instead.

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