In sunny Singapore, the annual monsoon season that happens around the beginning of the year brings with it many comforts, like the cooling weather, cups of warm coffee or soup, and cuddles with your loved ones. The refreshing rain is welcomed as a respite against the heat, with many breaking out the winter wear and layered looks.
But if you’re not careful, the changing temperature that can fluctuate up to 9 degrees in certain areas can also result in flu and other illnesses. Damp and humid conditions are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.
We’ve put together a couple of tips and information to help you stay guarded against infections and illness this rainy season.
1. Load up on iron supplements
You can have the healthiest diet, but food is actually one of hardest ways to absorb natural nutrients and vitamins. Did you know that tablet of vitamin C can contain up to 10 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange?
Supplements are a more effective way to ensure that you’re taking in the right amount of nutrients to keep you in top health. Iron deficiency (which is also linked to anemia) can lead to poor blood circulation, which will make you feel sluggish and lower your immunity system as the tissues, muscles, and organs are not getting enough oxygen from your blood flow.
For females, incorporating more diet into your diet around your menstrual cycle might also be effective in the long run. Iron-rich food includes red meat like beef and lamb, beans, peas, eggs and fresh fruit like bananas and watermelon.
2. Protect yourself from dengue and mosquitos!
If you’re part of the workforce who are able to work from home, you might be at a higher risk of catching dengue instead of COVID-19 (especially if you’re living in a high-risk dengue zone). Check the NEA website for dengue clusters, and take extra caution to ensure that there are no stagnant pools of water in drains, crevices or potted plants.
Invest in a lamp or electric mosquito trap as an added precaution, or use a lemongrass-infused essential oil as a natural solution that also makes your house smell nicer. When heading to parks or areas with lots of natural greenery, spray some mosquito repellent or wear long sleeves and pants as an added layer of protection.
3. Work out (but not in the rain)
Just ’cause it’s pouring, it’s no excuse to hide from the gym! Even if you don’t plan on leaving the house, there are plenty of online workout from 10 minutes to 1 hour on YouTube that span everything from cardio bodyweight workouts to yoga classes to get that heart pumping.
Physical exercise pumps more blood around the body, causing changes in antibodies and white blood cells that help to fight diseases and bacteria. Regular exercise helps to flush our bacteria and airways whilst helping your mental health by reducing stress.
4. Always be prepared for the rain
You might think that a little rain won’t hurt you, but you never know when you would be caught in a thunderstorm. Keep a foldable umbrella or a raincoat with you so that you won’t be drenched.
With the relentless showers and unpredictable rains, it’s always better to prepared then to come down with the sniffles. If you can, avoid jeans and denim on thundery days as the heavy fabric will soak up water easily and won’t dry until the next day. It’s a good time to break out those waterproof shoes, and avoid wearing white colors or suede materials.
And when you actually do get caught in the rain, immediately take a warm bath or at least change into dry clothes.
5. Wash and sanitise your hands regularly
In these times, washing and sanitising your hands is key to staying in the pink of health. Your hands are the first point of contact when you’re out and about, so keep the bacteria and germs away by washing your hands with water and soap. Sanitise in between washes – but please remember that sanitising is not a replacement for washing your hands. Make sure you dry your hands too as damp hands can also become a breeding ground for airborne diseases and bacteria. You can never be too careful.
6. Take that warm shower
The cool weather should not be an excuse to not take a shower! You still sweat when moving around or sleeping (yes, even indoors and in an aircon room), so a warm shower will warm you up in the morning or just in time for bed. The heat from the shower will also kill bacteria.
And our last and most important tip is that if you feel just a bit unwell or suspect you might be sick, head to the doctor’s immediately! With COVID-19 and the current health pandemic, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. There are 24-hour clinics and online doctors that are always available and ready to provide you advise and – if you need it – medical assistance.