How to Prevent Recurrence of Common Winter Illnesses
“Prevention is better than cure.”- Anonymous
Winters are one of the most loved seasons of all and they are finally here! While we look forward to wearing cozy winter wear, it is also important to be aware of the fact that winters also bring in a host of diseases and winter ailments due to the sudden drop in temperature.
Therefore, one must consider taking preventive health measures to avoid falling sick and staying healthy during winter.
Why is preventive health important?
As per a report by the Department of Biotechnology, India, most chronic or non-communicable diseases are on the rise across the globe accounting for 73% of all deaths.
Statistics like these indicate why in matters of health, prevention is always better than cure as most often, acute health conditions become chronic health conditions due to ignorance towards health.
Preventive health screenings, routine checkups and assessments, and timely vaccinations along with making positive lifestyle changes are factors that give you the best chance of avoiding any chronic problems.
Common winter ailments and ways to prevent them.
1. Common Cold
The common cold is a respiratory illness that is characterized by a stuffy and runny nose, coughing, headache, chest congestion, and a sore throat. As it is something that is a part of changing seasons, the common cold is often ignored and can last anywhere from seven to 10 days.
Although the common cold subsides within a couple of days and you do not need to call for any serious medical intervention, you can take steam and drink warm water to alleviate your symptoms.
Ways to Prevent Common Cold
The flu or as it is commonly known as influenza is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Similar to the cold, hence can often be mistaken for a cold, the flu affects the nose, throat, and lungs making the patient experience severe body ache, fever, sore throat, cough, muscle aches, etc., and can be mild or severe.
As winters are usually a very dry period with a lack of sunlight and a drop in temperature and humidity, the influenza virus is more prominent during winters and is better able to invade your body along with having a greater chance of infecting another person.
Ways to Prevent the Flu / Influenza
3. Sore/Strep Throat
Sore/Strep throat is a type of bacterial infection that is most common in children and can make the throat scratchy and sore. If untreated it can cause complications such as rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation.
Symptoms of Sore/Strep throat include fever, rash, headache, nausea, body ache, pain in swallowing food, throat pain, red and swollen tonsils, and tiny red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth.
Ways to Prevent the Sore/Strep Throat
Pneumonia is a common winter ailment and is a lung infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. It is caused by a variety of organisms including bacteria, viruses, or fungi, and can be mild or severe depending on factors such as age, the type of germ causing the infection, and the person’s overall health.
The disease is difficult to detect in the early stages and people with weak immunity or health issues such as asthma, cancer, or heart issues are prone to suffer from pneumonia.
Ways to Prevent Pneumonia
5. Winter Skin Problems
Winters bring in a host of skin troubles like itching, psoriasis, flaring of eczema, etc., and can cause flaky and itchy skin, chapped lips, and dehydrated skin. One of the most basic requirements for the winter season is to apply a moisturizer often.
Ways to Prevent Winter Skin Ailments
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus which are air-filled cavities located behind the forehead, nasal bones, cheeks, and eyes.
A sinus infection causes these spaces to get blocked and filled with fluid and can happen to anyone, but it is more prominent in people with a weakened immune system, nasal polyps, nasal allergies, asthma, abnormal nose structures, and smokers.
Symptoms include headache, facial pain, runny nose, and nasal congestion, and usually don’t require any treatment beyond pain medication, nasal decongestants, and nasal saline rinses. Acute can soon become chronic if left untreated or only partially treated. However, chronic sinusitis may require antibiotics.
Ways to Prevent A Sinus Infection
Bronchitis is a condition in which the airways of the lungs swell and produce mucus and cause coughing. Bronchitis can be both acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) wherein acute bronchitis results from an infection and may be contagious.
Chronic bronchitis can make breathing more difficult as the airway lining stays inflamed leading to increased swelling and more mucus production. As breathing becomes more difficult, the person may experience an acute exacerbation leading to limitation of everyday activities like walking.
Ways to Prevent Bronchitis
As you can see now, winters are truly a breeding ground for several bacteria and viruses. Hence, it is important for people to be extra careful with regard to their health and go for preventive health checkups, or get a health package themselves.
Give yourself THE GIFT OF GOOD HEALTH!
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1. Ten tips to avoid sinus infections - Baylor College of Medicine Blog Network. Baylor College of Medicine Blog Network. Published June 25, 2014. https://blogs.bcm.edu/2014/06/25/ten-tips-to-avoid-sinus-infections/
2. Publishing HH. What to do about sinusitis. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/what_to_do_about_sinusitis
3. Preventing and Treating Bronchitis. https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/downloads/flyer-bronchitis.pdf
4. Chronic/Lifestyle Disease | Department of Biotechnology. dbtindia.gov.in. Accessed January 11, 2023. https://dbtindia.gov.in/scientific-decision-units/chronic-diseases-nutrition/chroniclifestyle-disease
5. NATIONAL OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES NATIONAL OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES for PCV INTRODUCTION PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINE (PCV) CONJUGATE Month PCV-2 Month (6 Weeks) (14 Weeks) (9 Months). https://nhm.gov.in/New_Updates_2018/NHM_Components/Immunization/Guildelines_for_immunization/Operational_Guidelines_for_PCV_introduction.pdf
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8. Harvard Health Publishing. Foods that fight inflammation - Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Published November 7, 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
9. The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter. Science in the News. Published December 1, 2014. https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2014/the-reason-for-the-season-why-flu-strikes-in-winter/
10. Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Bronchitis - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis - MedBroadcast.com. medbroadcast.com. https://medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/acute-exacerbations-of-chronic-bronchitis