Gear up for winter

Doctors warn of the common winter mistakes people make and share care and caution to beat the cold

Published: 02nd November 2022 04:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2022 04:24 AM   |  A+A-


For reprentational purpose

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  If you’re someone who dreads the cold for a variety of reasons, the biting cold must be on the top. While we can’t make you love winter, doctors sure can help you keep the cold at bay. Infectious diseases in winter mostly include respiratory illnesses which comprise mostly common cold and flu, acute bronchitis, and in severe cases pneumonia.

Viral infections of the gastrointestinal system including viral gastroenteritis can also occur. Symptoms of most of these include fevers, headache, dry cough, fatigue, runny, stuffy nose, sore throat, hoarseness of voice, etc., and more than one family member is usually being affected, say experts.

“Precaution against these include small habits like proper washing of hands with soap and water or sanitising with alcohol-based hand-rubs before and after consumption of food. Proper cough and sneezing etiquette should be practised. If possible, isolation of the individuals having the symptoms of these illnesses at home till the infective period is over and use of proper personal protective equipment like gloves, and mask while caring for them and safe disposal of their used belongings is essential,” says Dr Monalisa Sahu, consultant, infectious diseases, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad.

Appropriate and adequate vaccination of children is essential to prevent vaccine-preventable winter illnesses like influenza and viral gastroenteritis, she adds.

Dr G Navodaya, consultant general medicine, Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills lists a few common illnesses people catch in winter and how one can guard themselves against it: “First, the common cold. Stopping the virus from spreading is the best way of common cold prevention. It is crucial to wash hands frequently and avoid contact with people who have a cold. If one of the family members is sick, avoid sharing dishware and use a disinfectant to clean surfaces like light switches and countertops inside the home."

"Next, pneumonia — it is a life-threatening disease in which viral and bacterial infections spread out in the alveoli or tiny sacs of the lungs clogging them with fluids. Therefore, pneumonia causes shortness of breath in individuals suffering from it. The germs that cause pneumonia can spread by coughing, sneezing or touching infected objects and then touching the mouth or nose."

"For the prevention of bacterial pneumonia, the PCV13 (Prevnar 13) and PPSV23 (Pneumovax) shots may be given. Other than that, you can focus on general health and hygiene standards, such as getting proper exercise, rest and diet to lower the risks of getting bacterial pneumonia. An acute ear infection is another common winter ailment in which bacteria cause inflammation and fluid build-up in the middle ear. "

"Other causes of acute ear infection are cold, smoking, sinus infection and changes in climatic conditions. Periodically cleaning the ears by washing them or through cotton swabs is essential. Next comes the norovirus, an infectious illness that can occur in people of all ages and at any time of the year."

"However, it is more common in the winter. There are no vaccines that can prevent the virus, but you can avoid it by — following proper hand and oral hygiene, eating thoroughly cooked food, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the home. The infection can resolve within a few days without any treatment. Strep throat is a critical infection occurring in the throat and tonsils."

"It is a common illness caused by cold weather in children within the age group of five to fifteen years. To prevent this, drink more warm fluids during the season and stay hydrated. Wash your hands frequently, gargle when you feel a slight soreness developing in the throat.”

Tips to stay safe from cold weather diseases:
Wash your hands frequently Add vitamin C to your diet
Drink herbal teas
Practice meditation
Avoid lengthy exposure to cold weather
Dress in several layers of clothing.
Pay special attention to protecting feet, hands, head, ears and nose from extremely low temperatures
Stay hydrated
Skip tight clothing


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