The unusual suspects: 7 reasons why flu can get you… and not just during season change


Flu can really ruin your week. But you can beat it!

Everyone dreads the change of season, because it means that everyone is susceptible to the seasonal flu. According to Dr Mohsin Wali, general physician and cardiologist, and Dr Vinayak Abbot, Ayurvedic practitioner, apart from the change in the weather and the yo-yo rise and fall in temperature, there are quite a few unusual reasons that can also cause flu. Here’s a list of these factors and their remedies as well.

1) Breathing in recirculated air while driving: While driving or travelling by car, most of us keep our windows rolled up, and keep the air-conditioner on. Some people do this even in pleasant weather, just to avoid the traffic noise. This leads to inhalation of recirculated, stale air… or worse. If someone is sick, and is travelling with you, then you’re breathing the germ-laden air they’ve exhaled. Keep the windows open a crack, even in cold weather. When the car is stationary, roll the windows down to let fresh air in.

2) Sudden change of temperature: Travelling from a hot zone to a cold zone or vice versa also causes flu. In fact, sudden change of temperature is one of the major reasons for flu. And once one person gets it, it spreads like wildfire. During season change, when it gets warm in the day and cold at night, don’t dress light. Take precautions by giving your body time to adjust before stepping in or out of a building, or when moving between any two environments with drastically different temperatures.

3) Dry hair: When the air is dry, either because of the weather or because of constantly sitting in an air-conditioned environment, our hair tends to dry up as well. And dry hair helps the flu virus live longer. Therefore, it’s better to use a humidifier for your hair to prevent flu.

Dry hair? The flu virus loves it. So get a humidifier. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

4) Fungal infection: The most common assumption is that flu is a viral infection. Well, that’s not always the case. At times, it could be a fungal infection as well. However, predictably, it’s hard to detect because the symptoms are the same. So, if you have flu and it’s refusing to go away then, probably, you ought to get it checked for a fungal infection.

5) Exposure to early morning dew: When the weather is still cool, early morning dew is a common sight on vehicles, your windows, and plants. However, did you know that if you’re even slightly exposed to dew, then there are chances of contracting flu? Getting flu through exposure to early morning dew is one of the least known causes of flu. What’s the medical reason behind it? Scientists are still figuring out!

6) Lack of sleep: If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, then your immunity level goes down. And the chances of you getting seasonal flu goes up. However, that doesn’t mean you oversleep. Just give your eyes some rest.

7) Suppression of natural urges: According to Ayurveda, suppression of natural urges such as the urge to urinate, sneeze etc can also cause flu, as it adversely affects your immunity.

And the remedies you didn’t know

Saffron and turmeric in milk is a popular cold remedy, as it’s an anti-inflammatory concoction. Also, cinnamon, lemon, and hot water are a few popular cold remedies.

Coughing? Snack on some dark chocolate. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

However, there are a few unknown flu hacks that can also help, such as a light workout. This helps you sweat, which, in turn, has an anti-inflammatory effect. While working out, if already ill, go slow and take the doctor’s permission. Also, a little bit of snacking on dark chocolate can help in dealing with cough. It contains theobromine, which is beneficial to the body.

However, if there’s one thing that really does the trick then that’s good old nariyal paani (coconut water). Apart from taking care of your hydration needs, it’s an excellent source of electrolytes, which are essential for recovery. Radish juice also helps by boosting your immune system.