Nip in air brings viral diseases in its spate

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NewZNew (Chandigarh) : With a chill setting in, Fortis Hospital Mohali, as part of its social commitment towards better health, has issued an advisory – simple precautions that need to be taken to safeguard one’s health. Doctors say there has been an increase in number of patients complaining of bacterial and viral infections, and that basic measures can ensure a healthier transition to winter.

cold_flu_illness_1Dr AK Mandal, Head – Pulmonology & Critical Care, Fortis Hospital Mohali says, “In winter, since the air is colder, it is heavier and acts as a trigger for asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other allergic disorders. One needs to protect oneself from cold and avoid exposure to cold in the early mornings and dusk time. Avoid early morning walks, instead, prefer to go for a walk once the sun is out. Soon, many people will start using blowers. But this should not be encouraged because they utilize the oxygen content in the room. Instead, use oil heaters. Drink plenty of fluids and visit a doctor if any of your symptoms worsen.”

According to Dr Parvinder Chawla, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Mohali, “There has been an increase in patients complaining of cough, running nose and fever in the past few days. For those who are suffering from these infections, we recommend avoiding crowded places and ensuring good hand hygiene practices. However, people with a propensity to influenza, we strongly advise the yearly vaccination.” With difference between day and night temperature increasing, viral infections and bacterial growth find the right environment to grow. Thus, treating the symptoms early is essential.”

Dr RK Jaswal, Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital Mohali, says “Winter is especially a difficult period for the heart. The dropping temperatures cause the arteries to tighten, thus restricting blood flow and reducing the oxygen supply to the heart. There is a change in the ratio of daylight hours to dark hours, which changes the hormonal balance and the hormones involved, such as Cortisol, can lower the threshold for a cardiovascular event. All of this can trigger a heart attack. When the weather is cold, the heart has to work harder to maintain body heat. It’s tough on the heart – doing all that pumping,” he added.

For skin care, Dr Daljeet Kaur, Dermatologist, Fortis Hospital Mohali has this advice, “It is important to keep the skin moist and hydrated in winters. Use oil everyday on the body. Due to the cold, people have a tendency to drink a lot of tea and coffee. Since they are diuretics, it is important to ensure that the water intake is adequate. It is also advisable to eat a lot of antioxidant rich food, such as oranges, carrots and green leafy vegetable, as they prevent skin damage by free radicals. Moisturize and hydrate – two mantras to keep your skin protected!”

Dr Ramesh Sen, Director – Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement, Fortis Hospital Mohali giving tips for winter, says, “Low temperature in winters can result in increased pains in joints and bones. It is important to eat food rich in Vitamins K, D and C for joint health as they play an important role in the production of cartilage and help the body absorb calcium for the bone. So include oranges, tomatoes and cabbage in your diet. Exercise is very important to maintain flexibility of joints and reduce stiffness. Choose low-impact exercises that are easy on joints, such as walking or yoga, which enhance your range of motion.”

Dos and Dont’s

  • Stay hydrated: Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day during the winter too
  • Avoid high calorie food
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Be aware about any change in BP or other vitals. Inform your doctor immediately if there is any drastic change
  • For high BP patients, early morning walks should be avoided. Walk when the sun is out
  • Use multiple layers of clothes to avoid exposure to extreme cold conditions, and therefore, heart attacks.

Handle with kid gloves:

Children are amongst the most vulnerable to illnesses because of the changing weather and hence Dr Swati Gupta, Pediatrician, Fortis Hospital Mohali, advises, “It is important to make children wear 3 or 4 layers of clothing to protect them from exposure and also ensure that they wear socks and caps throughout the winter season. Bath time is when children are susceptible to feel cold, so the temperature of the bathroom and the living room should be the same. The bathing time should not be more than 5 minutes. Along with this, natural remedies such as tulsi water, spoonful of honey or turmeric milk can be given. Soak 5 almonds overnight in water and give it to children in the morning to raise their immunity levels.”