How to protect yourselves from Common Ailments in Winter

Winter brings with itself some common health problems and we should stay well equipped to face these problems. With cold and flu season at full swing, we should be well aware about the necessary preventive measures. Listed below are few remedies for cold.

  • Wash your hands to keep germs and infections away
  • Cold and flu are mostly caused by viruses which can easily pass from person to person with close contact or through contaminated surfaces. Keep the surfaces clean and avoid close contact with infected people
  • Always sneeze and cough into handkerchiefs and discard used tissues and wash your hands carefully
  • Avoid sharing utensils with other family members if you or someone else in the family is sick
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold
  • Always wear warm clothes

Common Health Problems

Winter comes with an aggravated number of health problems. Some common health problems we face during winter are:

common ailments in winter

Heart diseases

Heart diseases are generally described as a range of conditions which affect your heart. Common heart diseases include coronary artery disease, hypertensive heart disease, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and inflammatory heart disease. Winter intensifies various heart problems. Heart attacks are more common in winter because the cold weather increases blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart.

Prevention of heart diseases

Here is a list of rules that you should follow for prevention of heart diseases:

  • Avoid active or passive smoking.
  • Get yourself some regular exercise to keep your heart healthy.
  • Control your weight.
  • Eat a fat free, oil free heart healthy diet.
  • Get quality sleep
  • Get yourself regular health screenings to keep the blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels and diabetes under control

Joint pain

Joint pain is a common health problem in winter. Joints become more painful and stiff during the cold months.

Prevention of joint pain

Listed below are few ways for prevention of joint pain:

Hydrotherapy: Warm water will ease joints and muscles and stimulate blood flow.

Massage: A massage, especially with topical menthol is the most effective way to relieve joint pain.

Medications: Certain medications and pain killers such as ibuprofen provides relief from joint pain.

Natural mixtures: Natural herbal mixtures, such as herbal teas are an excellent means to prevent knee, hip and other joint pains.

Exercise: Proper exercise prevents potential joint pain by increasing the strength and flexibility of your joints.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps to reduce joint pain and stiffness and improves the range of motion.

Alternative medical treatments: Alternative medical practices such as acupuncture and Bikram Yoga will help to alleviate pain and prevent it.

Immobilize the area: If the pain is unbearable, try to immobilize the area with a splint or brace.

Proper rest: It is one of the best ways for preventing joint pain. It will restore energy and allow the body to repair itself naturally.

Bronchitis

Winter is a major trigger of bronchitis.

Prevention of bronchitis

Follow these tips for prevention of bronchitis:

  • Avoid smoking: Cigarette smoking increases the risk of chronic bronchitis.
  • Get vaccinated: Acute bronchitis may result from influenza. A flu vaccine annually can protect you from flu.
  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands with sanitizers to reduce your risk of catching a viral infection.
  • Wear a surgical mask: It is recommended to wear a face mask when going outdoors.

Sore throat

Sore throats caused by viral infections are common in winter.

How to prevent sore throat

Here are a few tips on how to prevent sore throat:

  • Gargle: Gargle with warm salt water. The salt helps to pull the mucous out of your inflamed tissue and relieves a sore throat.
  • Lozenge: Over-the-counter throat lozenges contain menthol that can numb the throat tissue and provide you with temporary relief.
  • OTC Pain Relief: Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as Ibuprofen or Paracetamol can reduce inflammation and swelling in your throat.
  • A Drop of Honey: A cup of warm tea with honey can help soothe your sore throat. Other warm fluids, including soup, can provide you some relief.
  • Humidifier: Breathing in moist air can help soothe sore throat and nose. A humidifier adds moisture to your room and reduces dryness.
  • Stay Hydrated: It is an important way of treating a sore throat. When dehydrated, your body fails to produce enough saliva and mucus and makes the inflammation worse.
  • Steam Shower: Steam inhalation or a steam bath helps to ease the pain of a sore throat.

Flu

Flu is very common in winter. Good health habits can be used to treat and prevent flu.

Prevention of flu

protect yourselves from Common Ailments

Few tips for prevention of flu are:

  • Avoid close contact with sick persons
  • Stay home when you are sick to prevent spreading your illness to others
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing
  • Clean your hands often to protect yourself from germs
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands
  • Practice good health habits like cleaning and disinfecting your home regularly, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious food

Common cold

Common cold is a common disease in winter. There is no vaccine for common cold, but there are certain remedies for cold.

Prevention of common cold

Common cold can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Scrub your kitchen and bathroom clean, especially when someone in your family has a common cold
  • Always sneeze and cough into handkerchiefs.
  • Discard used tissues and wash your hands carefully
  • Avoid sharing utensils with other family members when you or someone else is sick
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold

Asthma attacks

Cold air is a major trigger for asthma. People with asthma should be careful during winter.

Prevention of asthma attacks

Here are few tips on prevention of asthma attacks:

  • Take medicines regularly as directed by your doctor
  • Keep a track of your asthma triggers and avoid them
  • Minimize your exposure to allergens which can temporarily increase the inflammation of the airways in a person with asthma, making them more susceptible to an asthma attack
  • Avoid active and passive smoking to Prevent Asthma
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching items handled by others with a respiratory infection
  • Monitor your breathing rates
  • Try to recognise symptoms of a possible asthma attack
  • Pay attention to the rate of your inhaler usage.
  • Increased use of inhaler is a sign of a forthcoming asthma attack. Visit a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Keep away from pets and do not allow them on beds or furniture.
  • Keep your surroundings clean and dust free.

Influenza

Influenza is a major killer during winter. Old people, especially the ones aged 65 and over with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.

Prevention of influenza

Influenza vaccine is not totally effective. Along with vaccination, you need to check the spread of the infection. Listed below are few tips on prevention of influenza:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly. It is an effective way to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing
  • Influenza spreads wherever people congregate. Avoid such places.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home when you are sick to prevent spreading your illness to others
  • Practice good health habits like cleaning and disinfecting your home regularly, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious food

Dry skin

Dry skin is a common medical condition and often gets worse during winter, when humidity is low.

How to prevent dry skin?

Here are few tips on how to prevent dry skin.

  • Treat your skin with milk. Milk helps to soothe the skin
  • Grease your skin with thick and heavy moisturizer
  • Moisturise your skin when it is damp. It helps to lock the moisture and prevents it from evaporating.
  • Grease the driest parts of your skin like the elbows, heels and hands

Cold feet and hands

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a common condition that is responsible for cold feet and hands. It makes your fingers and toes change colour and becomes extremely painful in winter.  The fingers turn white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle. It’s a sign of poor circulation in blood vessels of the hands and feet.

Prevention of cold feet and hands

Avoid smoking or drinking caffeine since they can worsen the symptoms. Always wear warm gloves, socks and shoes when going out in winter.

Listed above is some of the common health problems people face in winter and their remedies. With the winter approaching, keep these points in mind while you enjoy the chilling cold of December and January.

All the treatments – medicines, injections and vaccines are for general information of the reader. Please consult a doctor and get a formal prescription before taking any medicines, supplements and injections.

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