Health

DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: How to ward off winter bugs this Christmas – keep your nose covered and warm!

Adding to the horrible cold this week, with spectacularly bad timing, our central heating quickly went out.

A plumber has been, scratched his head, and now we are waiting ‘for parts’.

Meanwhile, my wife Clare and I wear four layers of clothing, keep a couple of rooms warm by running our pathetic electric heaters on full blast, and taking turns snuggling with the dog.

We are fortunate in that we are young, reasonably fit, and can afford to keep an electric heater on.

Others are not so lucky. And this is not something to be taken lightly: the British winter typically claims the lives of around 50,000 people each year.

So what can you do to protect yourself from the ravages of the cold?

Wrap yourself in a cozy scarf

The main causes of death in winter are respiratory infections, and this year the main threats are covid and flu.

It goes without saying that the best way to minimize our risk of getting seriously ill is by getting a flu shot and a covid booster, plus taking immune-boosting vitamin D supplements.

The NHS recommends that everyone take 10 mcg of vitamin D daily from now until the end of March, when the sun is strong enough to meet all our vitamin D needs from sunlight exposure on our skin.

But a recent study suggests that it’s also a good idea to wrap a scarf around your face, to keep your nose warm when you’re out and about.

A Recent Study Suggests That It'S Also A Good Idea To Wrap A Scarf Around Your Face To Keep Your Nose Warm When You'Re Out And About.

A recent study suggests that it’s also a good idea to wrap a scarf around your face to keep your nose warm when you’re out and about.

Researchers at Mass Eye and Ear, a research center in Boston, USA, have identified a novel way the nose fights infection, and this process becomes less effective when the nose is cold.

Our noses are on the front lines in our battle against invading microbes; we often inhale viruses through them, for example, or they get onto our hands and then jump from there to our noses when we touch our faces.

Fortunately, your nose is equipped to defend itself; nasal hair acts as a physical barrier to infection, for example. And the reason you have a runny nose is because it’s full of cells that make mucus, trapping microbes before they can get into your lungs.

Even more ingenious are recently discovered cells that sit in the front of the nose and release fluid-filled sacs called extracellular vesicles (EVs) when they detect approaching enemies. The electric vehicles then either kill the invaders or latch onto them and sweep them away.

But the Boston researchers found that they don’t like being cold: When healthy volunteers spent 15 minutes in a room below 5°C (my current office temperature), this caused a 40 percent drop in the amount of electric vehicles that their noses could. produce.

So in addition to washing your hands regularly, wear a scarf to keep your nose warm.

Make oily fish a winter staple

Our hearts are also vulnerable in winter.

A study by the British Heart Foundation in 2016 found that not only did cold weather cause an additional 6,000 cardiac deaths, but three days or more of cold conditions in a row nearly doubled people’s chances of dying of a heart attack or stroke. cerebral.

In part it’s because your heart has to work a lot harder when you’re cold, which probably increases your blood pressure. But it’s also because the cold makes the blood stickier and more likely to clot.

Eating Oily Fish Is Another Proven Way To Reduce The Risk Of Blood Clots. A Few Years Ago, While Making A Documentary, I Went On A Diet Where I Ate Nothing But Fish For A Month.

Eating Oily Fish Is Another Proven Way To Reduce The Risk Of Blood Clots. A Few Years Ago, While Making A Documentary, I Went On A Diet Where I Ate Nothing But Fish For A Month.

Eating oily fish is another proven way to reduce the risk of blood clots. A few years ago, while making a documentary, I went on a diet where I ate nothing but fish for a month.

The ancestors who walked among us

Not so long ago there were three species of humans on our planet: our ancestors, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.

No one is sure why the other two species went extinct, but weaker immunity doesn’t seem to have been the problem; in fact, their immune systems could one day help us develop new antibiotics.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania recently recreated compounds that were part of the immune systems of these two species and found that these compounds not only perforated microbes, but also killed drug-resistant bacteria like MRSA.

So keep an eye on your blood pressure (you can buy a monitor at most pharmacies for around £20), and if you’re taking statins, remember to take them (as well as lowering cholesterol levels, statins make the blood thinner). and less likely). coagulate).

Eating oily fish is another proven way to reduce the risk of blood clots. A few years ago, while making a documentary, I went on a diet where I ate nothing but fish for a month.

Being on a fish-based diet doubled the time it took my blood to clot, from three to six minutes, making it less likely that I would develop clots that could block an artery and trigger a heart attack.

I wouldn’t recommend going that far, but a couple of servings of oily fish a week during the winter months should be good for your heart and also help boost those all-important vitamin D levels.

When it comes to oily fish, think SMASH: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring.

RESIST THE URGENCY TO HIBERNATE

The urge to sit on the couch and hibernate is quite strong in cold weather, but staying active can protect you in the winter months.

Much research has shown that brisk walking several times a week lowers blood pressure and reduces blood viscosity.

A recent study found that it can also protect you from lung infections.

When researchers at Yamagata University in Japan monitored 132,000 older people, they found that those who walked regularly (30 minutes or more) were half as likely to die from respiratory infections as those who were more sedentary.

If going for long walks doesn’t appeal to you, take heart from a recent study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, which showed that a few minutes a day of huffing and puffing was associated with a 49% reduction in deaths from heart disease . .

The Australian researchers call this “intermittent vigorous lifestyle physical activity,” meaning any very short period of vigorous activity, including brisk walking up a couple of flights of stairs.

and hug your pet

Our dog, Tari, a King Charles spaniel, is in high demand right now because she generates so much heat when she sits on our laps, which she loves.

It feels like having an electric blanket over your knees.

The breed descends from small dogs that were brought from France in the 16th century and soon became popular with aristocrats, particularly as a way to warm the lap on cold carriage rides.

Our Dog Is In High Demand Right Now Because She Generates A Lot Of Heat When She Sits On Our Lap, Which She Loves. She Feels Like Having An Electric Blanket Over Her Knees. [File Image]

Our Dog Is In High Demand Right Now Because She Generates A Lot Of Heat When She Sits On Our Lap, Which She Loves. She Feels Like Having An Electric Blanket Over Her Knees. [File Image]

Our dog is in high demand right now because she generates a lot of heat when she sits on our lap, which she loves. She feels like having an electric blanket over her knees. [File image]

Most dogs will cope with temperatures above freezing, but when it’s really cold, take them for shorter walks.

The signs of hypothermia in a dog (or cat) are similar to those in humans: uncontrollable shivering, low energy, and loss of coordination.

Unless it’s very severe, all they really need is gentle warming, perhaps by wrapping them in a blanket.

The science of finding the perfect gift

With only one week to go, I’m in a panic about what to buy my loved ones for Christmas.

I hate shopping and I’m one of those you see running through the stores on Christmas Eve desperately looking for last minute gifts.

According to 2018 research, there’s a science to gift-giving. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the US found that surprises are highly overrated and it’s best to simply ask loved ones what they want. Similarly, they suggest swapping fresh flowers for something more durable, like a pot.

And while you may think your partner would like a sweater or jewelry, according to researchers, “recipients get more happiness from experiential gifts, like a nice dinner out.”

Although of course that still leaves me with the problem of choosing the right experience gift to give.

Drinking tea or coffee strengthens the bones

The treacherous and icy conditions have been a real danger to the 3.5 million people (including my mother) with osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones: one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of it.

Impact exercises such as running or jumping strengthen your bones, but apparently increasing your intake of protein, tea, and coffee can also do so.

Impact Exercises Like Running Or Jumping Strengthen Your Bones, But Apparently You Can Also Up Your Protein, Tea, And Coffee Intake. [File Image]

Impact Exercises Like Running Or Jumping Strengthen Your Bones, But Apparently You Can Also Up Your Protein, Tea, And Coffee Intake. [File Image]

Impact exercises like running or jumping strengthen your bones, but apparently you can also up your protein, tea, and coffee intake. [file image]

When scientists at the University of Leeds analyzed data from the UK Women’s Cohort Study, involving 26,000 women over a 20-year period, they found that those who ate a lot of protein (more than the two recommended daily servings per the NHS, one serving should fit in the palm of your hand) had a significantly lower risk of hip fractures.

Good sources of protein include meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans, nuts, or legumes.

We know that protein plays a key role in strengthening bones and building muscle (reducing the chance of a fall), but what’s surprising about this study is that they also found that drinking tea and coffee was linked to reduced significant risk.

This may be because they are rich in polyphenols and phytoestrogens, compounds that stimulate bone formation.

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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