Winter is that time of the year when a range of illnesses show up, making life uncomfortable for many and miserable for some. The best way to go into winter is with some precautions that keep you in good health.
If you thought that winter is a time for just runny noses and heavy chests, there might be many more surprises in store. While most people face annual respiratory disorders during winter, some people struggle with chronic ailments that only get worse when the mercury dips.
Some common winter ailments include dry and itchy skin, seasonal allergies, chest congestion, and runny noses. People suffering from diseases like arthritis and asthma suffer even more as their symptoms aggravate greatly during winter. However, winter is also a time for many more ailments, including heart attacks, if you do not take the right precautions.
According to Dr Asha Pillai, Internist, Badr Al Samaa Hospital, Ruwi, “during winter in Oman, upper respiratory infections are very common, most of them being viral. I think the maximum number of cases occur during the transition stage from a hot climate to cold climate. A lot of people come with flu, sore throat, chest congestion, and also bacterial infections.”
One of the reasons for the spread of respiratory disorders during winter is the fact that there is a lot of movement of people, a lot of people return from vacations from different countries and with them a lot of infections also come along. One cannot prevent this because people live in close proximity; there is a lot of clustering of people in closed places, supermarkets, schools, playgrounds. However, maintaining good personal hygiene and regularly washing and sanitising hands after frequenting public places can help to a certain extent, she said.
Other common problems during winter include skin problems, especially dry and itchy skin conditions, which need regular moisturising. Joint problems are also common during winter; those suffering from arthritis or arthritic conditions tend to experience more pain and reduced mobility during winter due to stiff joints and muscle pains. Low vitamin D levels, due to lack of exposure to sunlight, also has a role to play in this.
Among respiratory disorders, those suffering from asthma tend to have more attacks, involving difficulty in breathing, during winter, Dr Asha said asserting that this is because the respiratory airways get constricted due to the cold climate. Respiratory viruses in the air are also potent constrictors of airways and they trigger allergic reactions, too. Also, those suffering from coronary artery disease, as well as depression, tend to experience heightened symptoms during winter, she added.
As a matter of precaution, taking symptomatic medicines or anti-flu shots just before the onset of a change in season can be helpful in sailing through winter without much discomfort, especially for senior citizens or young children who have low immunity levels. Besides this, one needs to maintain good hygiene, consume healthy balanced diets and stay away from closed places and people who have a cold or flu.
Common During Winter
Winter is one of the prime seasons for heart attacks. As the temperature falls, the arteries become constricted making it difficult for the heart to pump the blood. Hence, during winter, those above the age of 30 should avoid exhaustive activity. Move your morning walks from chilly mornings to warm afternoons.
Asthmatics know that winter is the time for asthma attacks. The cold and dry air leads to tightening of airways and makes it difficult for breathing. Moving to a warmer climate can be helpful, or else try to keep your home smoke free.
Itchy skin is common during winter. Cold temperatures with low humidity cause winter itches. The best remedy is to avoid eating oily street food, and apply almond, coconut or olive oil on your skin.
Joint pains get aggravated during winter and one of the best remedies is to keep your feet warm. Also, wear two or three pairs of thin clothing instead of one pair of heavy warm clothes. Exercising as well as basking in the sun is helpful to rid joint or muscle stiffness.