For most people, winter is that time of the year when a stuffy nose and a nagging cough become their constant companion. The cold and dry weather makes it difficult for your immune system to functional optimally, thus making you susceptible to a host of health ailments including the unfriendly neighbourhood common cold.
To keep your immune system in full throttle during the winter, you can steps like eating healthy, wearing warm clothes and exercising regularly. Being aware of various common winter illnesses is another measure that will serve you well during the cold months.
To make your search easier, we have compiled a list of the six most common winter illnesses –
- A Sore Throat
Extremely common during the colder months, a sore throat is usually caused by viral infections. New research has linked sore throat to the change in body temperature that takes place when you move from the comfort of your warm house to the cold outdoors. In addition to the usual symptoms, you may also experience swollen lymph nodes, headaches and high fever. Keep warm saline water handy to ease the symptoms. Other measures in managing a sore throat include drinking hot teas, soups, etc. Some people feel relief with lozenges, readily available in any pharmacy store.
As you know, the onset of winter is accompanied by chilly air. For a patient of asthma, this can lead to increased bouts of wheezing. The patient may also experience breathing difficulties. For such people, it is recommended to avoid the outdoors during cold, windy days. Keep inhalers close by and cover the nose with a scarf when outdoors.
- Joint Pain
If you are a patient of arthritis, then this is a period when you have to stay very careful about your joint health. A large number of people with bone related disorders like arthritis have reported experiencing ‘more than the usual’ pain during the cold season. Medical experts have not yet ascertained the exact reason behind this. Ofcourse, you can manage the condition better by availing the services of a physiotherapist as he/she can help you better manage the symptoms of joint pain through simple exercises and massages.
- Dry Skin
Chapped lips and flaky skin are two of the most common skin problems people experience during the colder months. Low humidity levels combined with cold winds form the perfect environment for your skin to dry up. Excessively chapped lips can also cause you to bleed from the cracks of your skin. To prevent this, opt for moisturizers which protect your skin from drying up by trapping the moisture in the skin. Also, avoid using hot water for bathing as that can further aggravate symptoms of dry skin.
When it comes to flu, there is a saying that it can strike anyone, anytime. The most common symptoms include cough, muscle aches, chills and fever. Extremely contagious, implying you can never let your guard down. Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to immunize yourself this winter. The elderly can also opt for the pneumococcal vaccine to protect themselves from pneumonia.
Bronchitis leads to inflammation in your bronchioles. Bronchioles are small passageways in the lungs which help you breathe. In addition to breathing difficulties, bronchitis also results in sore throat, nasal blockages, fever and dehydration. The symptoms are similar to that of the common cold, but unlike the latter, they persist for a longer duration. Severe cases of bronchitis may require hospitalization.
Inspite of all precautions, if you find yourself falling ill this winter, consider consulting a doctor. Also, if you are already ill, going out in the cold weather may further add to your discomfort. It is, therefore, advisable to avail doctor consultation at home: the place where you are most comfortable at with the added advantage of being surrounded with your loved ones.