Andrew Huberman’s Thoughts on Winter Colds

With cold & flu season upon us, Andrew Huberman timed the release of his recent podcast, on “Winter Months & Sickness,” just about perfectly.  In the short episode, he provides some quick, easy, & inexpensive ways to stay well during the colder months.  For those of you who don’t know who Huberman is, he’s a top neuroscientist at Stanford.  This article is a continuation of articles that act as “Cliff Notes” for his often-long podcast episodes.  In this article, we’ll discuss “Andrew Huberman’s Thoughts on Winter Colds,” broken down into easily digestible take-aways.

Andrew Huberman's Thoughts on Winter Colds, Andrew Huberman's Top Testosterone Supplements, The Best High EPA Fish Oil Supplement, Girl Who Travels the World

Andrew Huberman is one of the top neuroscientists in the country. Photo courtesy of FastLifeHacks.com.

“The hairs of your nostrils, the mucus itself, & the microbiome (trillions of little micro-bacteria that thrive in the mucosal lining of your nasal passages) actually serve to protect against incoming infections. One of the best ways to keep the mucosal lining thriving & intact is to make sure that the air you’re breathing is sufficiently humidified.”

 

– Dr. Andrew Huberman

Andrew Huberman Video on Winter Sickness

You can access Huberman’s specific video on colds & flus below, via YouTube.  In my take-aways that follow, I also cite the minute-mark where he mentions each point ~ so you can clearly reference it for yourself.

Huberman’s Specific Take-Aways from this Episode: 

  • The research clearly shows that people are more prone to getting colds & flus during the wintertime, when days are shortest & nights are longest (2:10). Shorter days correlate with colder temperatures (3:16).
  • Because of the shorter days, people are spending more time indoors during the winter ~ in closer proximity to other people. (4:06)  The closer you are to somebody who is sneezing or coughing, the more likely you will get sick. 

**BIG TAKEAWAY = Close proximity to people who are actively coughing & sneezing is one of the best ways TO get sick. (4:50)  So naturally, staying away from people who are sick is the best way to avoid getting a virus.  If someone lives with you, this might mean not sharing a bed with them ~ or even avoiding being in the same room.  The closer the contact: the more likely you will be to get sick (i.e. hugs, kisses, hand shakes, etc.).

  • If people are still sneezing & coughing: they are still contagious.  PERIOD. (7:25)  Even if they tell you they’re “not contagious.” 
  • During the winter, most of us are spending more time indoors, in heated rooms. (8:00)  And all heated air is drier air (not humid).  Heated air especially tends to dry out the nasal passages (9:15). 

**BIG TAKEAWAY = The way air is heated indoors dries out our nasal passages.  “And the nasal passages represent a primary site of defense for viral infections like colds & flus, but also for bacterial & fungal infections,” says Huberman. (9:40)  Infections can actually get trapped in the nose, before they make their way deeper into your body. (10:58)

  • It is essential then, to keep this mucosal lining healthy & intact, so that they can best do their job during cold & flu season especially. (11:45)  How to do this?  Make sure the air you’re breathing is sufficiently humidified!! (11:50)  Nasal breathing, vs. mouth breathing, is also immensely helpful in keeping your respiratory pathways healthy & resistant to incoming viruses.  In fact, people who breathe through their nose are less likely to get sick than people who breathe though their mouths! (14:56)

**BIG TAKEAWAY =  Breathe through your nose, instead of breathing through your mouth.  And if you’re spending a lot of time indoors during the winter: it might be wise to invest in a humidifier for whatever rooms you spend the most time in ~ & especially in the room you’re sleeping in at night.

There are two ways to do this: 1) Get a one-room, smaller humidifier; or 2) Invest in a whole-house humidifier, that will humidify your entire house through your existing vents. I bought one a few years ago, & virtually never get sick when I’m home….only when I travel! 

  • If you’re going to be outside for long periods of time in the winter (i.e. exercising, walking, golfing, etc.), try to breathe your nose as much as possible (18:22).  And when you come back inside: find a way to re-hydrate your (now dry) nasal passages.  This could mean: taking a hot shower, using a steam room or sauna, or being in a room with a humidifer. 

But perhaps the fastest way to re-hydrate nasal passages immediately ~ is to use a Nebulizer.  I bought one a year ago, on the advice of my doctor.  You place the Nebulizer directly over your nose, & breathe humidifed air directly into your nose (I use just plain salt & water).  Within minutes, you’ll actually feel your nasal passages being much wetter & more humidified; often times, I sneeze after using the Nebulizer!  It’s like a humidifier for your nose.

“Keeping the air you breathe, especially at night, sufficiently humidified is one great way to off-set colds & flus that you might be combating, [or that you brought] home from work, & your immune system needs to ward it off.” (13:10)

 

– Andrew Huberman

Whole-House Humidifier

Nebulizer

Bedroom Humidifier

Andrew Huberman’s Thoughts on Winter Colds

I hope this article has been helpful, & reminds you of principles you already know ~ & that have much science to back them up (Huberman cites many different studies during this episode).  I’ve also written about his favorite sleep aids, & his thoughts on berberine: a powerful supplement for stabilizing blood sugar.

xoxo Noelia

Read Next: Andrew Huberman’s Top Testosterone Supplements

 

Discover more from Girl Who Travels the World

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading