Common Winter Health Problems and How to Avoid Them

Types of Winter Diseases and its Prevention
04.Dec.2020

The winter season in India starts from mid-November and lasts till the last week of February. During these months, people face health problems due to the change in the climate. Shorter days and longer nights impact the health of people in some or other ways. Apart from that the immune system of the body also becomes low and a proper diet needs to be taken to maintain good health. Winter season brings along with it lots of fruits and green vegetables improves digestion, exercise becomes mandatory for which heart and other organs function properly. Here we discuss the common health problems that are associated with the winter season.

  1. Common Cold

    Cause: A cold can be caused by many different viruses, but rhinoviruses are the most common cause of common colds. During the winter season, the absorption of vitamin D from sunlight decreases due to less daylight and long nights. This leads to immunity being diminished.

    Symptoms: The major symptoms related to common cold include:

    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Sneezing
    • Fever
    • Malaise
    • Body ache
    • Mild headache
  2. Flu

    Cause: Flu is a communicable respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus. This disease affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Closing the doors and windows during the winter season and not allowing fresh air and sunlight to enter the room can lead the germs to stay in the room. This when inhaled, causes Flu.

    Symptoms: The common symptoms related to the flu include

    • Fever
    • Cold Sweats
    • Aches throughout the body
    • Headache
    • Exhaustion
    • Even some gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  3. Pneumonia

    Cause: A large range of bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia is a life-threatening condition because it blocks the alveoli in the lungs that are small air sacs and floods them with fluids. Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most prevalent form of bacterial pneumonia caused by the germ Streptococcus pneumoniae, which usually resides in the upper respiratory tract. The most prevalent cause of viral pneumonia in adults is the influenza virus.

    Symptoms: The common symptoms related to pneumonia include

    • Severe cough
    • Green phlegm
    • Coughed up lungs
    • High fever
    • Shortness in breath
    • Severe headache
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Profuse sweating
    • Pain in muscles
    • Purple color skin
  4. Sore Throat

    Cause: Sore Throat is one of the most common winter diseases caused by viral infections. The group A streptococcus bacteria is the causative agent for sore throat. Allergies, dust, and dryness in the air, pollutants in the air, and throat cancer are some of the factors responsible for sore throat.

    Symptoms: Some of the common symptoms of sore throat are:

    • Severe pain in the throat
    • Swollen throat
    • Red tonsils
    • Puss found on tonsils
  5. Asthma Attacks

    Cause: Common Cold, flu, and pneumonia mostly occur during the winter months. People who are allergic to dust, mites, mold, and pet dander suffer during the winter season. These allergens trigger asthma. Thus when a person having asthma suffers from cold, flu, or pneumonia, respiratory problems increase. Cold air also causes the airways to produce a substance called histamine, which is the same chemical that our body makes during an allergy attack. The histamine is responsible for trigerring wheezing and other symptoms related to asthma.

    Symptoms: The common symptoms related to asthma include

    • Continuous coughing during winter nights.
    • Gasping for air after small physical exercise
    • Whistle sound when breathing
    • Tightness in chest
    • Shortness in breath
    • Extreme tiredness
  6. Heart Attacks

    Cause: Compared to other seasons of the year, heart attacks typically happen during winter. This is because, due to the cold winter, a person suffering from high blood pressure could feel more tension in his or her heart. The heart needs to work harder during the winter season to retain body heat. The main causes are atherosclerosis, heavy smoking, unhealthy eating, and obesity.

    Symptoms: The common symptoms of a heart attack include:

    • The feeling of pressure and, squeezing in the chest that constantly come and go.
    • Severe pain in your neck, arms, jaw, back, and stomach
    • Sudden shortness of breath
    • Nausea and lightheaded on the inside
  7. Pain in Joints

    Cause: During winter, most persons suffering from arthritis will feel discomfort in their joints. The synovial fluid, which is present within the knee joints as a protective fluid, gets thicker during winter. This results in increased tension contributing to stiffened movements between the synovial joints. The discomfort is due to the strain on the nerves that cover the joints.

    During the winter season, smoking tobacco becomes more harmful as it aggravates joint pains.

    Symptoms: The most common symptoms of joint pain include

    • Pain in a joint with movement or at rest.
    • Limited range of movement.
    • Stiffness after inactivity or during activity.
    • Swelling or tenderness at a joint.
    • Redness or warmth at a joint.
    • Not being able to do everyday activities.
  8. Itching Skin

    Cause: Dry-itchy skin is the first indication that you can experience as winter sets in. This is because the body does not want the cold winter to sweat as much as it does during summer. Dry skin, acne, eczema, insufficient production of natural oils, and moisture contribute to skin itching.

    Symptoms: The most common symptoms of joint pain include

    • Skin that feels and looks rough.
    • Itching (pruritus)
    • Slight to severe flaking, scaling, or peeling.
    • Fine lines or cracks.
    • Gray, ashy skin.
    • Redness.
    • Deep cracks that may bleed.

PREVENTING WINTER HEALTH PROBLEMS

Winter health problems can be prevented by bringing certain changes in lifestyle. Let us know how we can prevent the above-mentioned health problems.

  1. Do not skip a bath. Take bath daily and keep yourself clean and maintain hygiene. Do not take bath in cold water early in the morning.
  2. Cover your mouth with tissue paper or handkerchief when you cough or sneeze.
  3. Wash your hands properly before and after eating. Also, wash your hand after coming home from the market. Always wear a face mask when you step outside of your home.
  4. Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.
  5. Drink tomato or mixed vegetable soup by adding black pepper, garlic, and ginger in it.
  6. Include green leafy vegetables, dry fruits, turmeric, jaggery, ginger, garlic, and ghee in your diet.
  7. Avoid eating ice creams and drinking cold drinks
  8. Do not roam outside without proper clothing.
  9. If you have a sore throat, gargle with lukewarm salt water to get relief.
  10. If your fever does not get down in 2 days, consult your doctor immediately.

Reference

  1. Winter Diseases: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Prevention. Accessed at https://www.medlife.com/blog/winter-diseases-types-causes-symptoms-prevention/
  2. Common Winter Health Problems. Accessed at https://www.indushealthplus.com/common-winter-health-problems.html
  3. Boosting immunity: 10 foods a nutritionist recommends to maintain fitness during winter. Accessed at https://www.firstpost.com/health/boosting-immunity-10-foods-a-nutritionist-recommends-to-maintain-fitness-during-winter-9021161.html
  4. 10 Common Winter Health Problems and How to Avoid Them. Accessed at https://www.mana.md/10-common-winter-health-problems-and-how-to-avoid-them/

Post Your Comment