Beware of winter blues! It may prove fatal for some

Though winter mortality is a global incidence, Delhi winter is especially fraught with health related dangers and calls prudence. 

Published: 03rd December 2016 01:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2016 01:04 PM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: Winter has arrived and zeroing in on the people of Delhi and NCR. 

As New Year 2017 approaches, people need to be prudent of winter blues. Exposure to winter may cause health crisis, which may result in death too. The elderly need to be on guard. 

Experts say even an ordinary pulmonary congestion can spell doom, if taken lightly. Figures of fatalities during winter amply bear this out. 

Winter mortality is a major health concern. Given the dangers lurking in winter, it is a fallacy to look at it as a season of health. For some, winter is the most dangerous season in Delhi.

Experts opine that winter mortality can be substantially reduced if people protect themselves from the cold exposure by wearing masks, protective clothing and being up and doing.  

Though winter mortality is a global incidence, Delhi winter is especially fraught with health related dangers and calls prudence. 

Delhi air is the worst in the world. according to World Health Organisation studies, and any forms of pollutants suspended in the winter air have serious adverse effects on the health. SO2, for instance, can trigger asthma, erode buildings, and kill trees through acid rain. Smog has proved to be a killer phenomenon in Delhi. According to various studies pollutants such as asbestos and silica are well established causes of long term damage to the lungs, and common city pollutants – diesel vehicles, industries and burning of crop residue – further add fuel to the fire. 

Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Healthcare and a celebrated Orthopaedic surgeon, said, “The composition of blood changes under extreme temperatures and might result into death. In winter such changes should not be looked at as commonplace. Respiratory disorders and other viral bacterial infections also accentuate in winters, which might cause heart attack and stroke due to blood coagulation.”

He added, “In India and abroad winter has particularly been harsh on people. Smog phenomenon has only aggravated the situation.  Going by Indian government studies, winter has emerged as the second biggest killer after lightening strikes, and other natural causes. According to ‘Statistics Related to Climate Change’ data between the year 2000 and 2012, overall 87,329 people died owing to natural disasters.  Exposure to cold claimed more than 10,740 lives.”
“Extreme cold weather worsens the medical condition, so people already going through some health conditions must take extra precaution to keep winter mortality at bay. Especially ageing people need to be extra careful. For instance, respiratory disorders, strokes, heart attack, and blood clotting can happen during or soon after exposure to extreme cold,” explained Dr Chaudhry.

According to Dr Chaudhry, winter mortality can be considerably reduced if people protect themselves from the cold by wearing masks, protective clothing and keeping active, especially the middle-aged and the elderly. 

His advisory for winter is, “One should cover their feet, hands and head properly to trap the body heat during the winter months. The days are shorter and a lot of people tend to hibernate and laze around in winters. Lack of physical activity among people leads to other health complications.”


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