winter

Winter is the coldest season of a year which occurs after autumn(fall) and before spring. Most of us are really excited about the chills and icy weather of this winter season. The magnificent snowfall and the Christmas carol on cold days make this winter one of the favorite times of the year.

But there are few drawbacks to this season related to our health. The cold weather triggers few common illness amongst the people. During the winter season, we are all at the high risk of catching a cold, flu, cough and stuffy nose. People with a weak immune system are totally prone to this winter ailments.

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Winter brings all those contagious diseases through the air, which means healthy lifestyle and proper hygiene should be strictly followed. It is essential to prevent diseases once you start seeing signs and symptoms. If left untreated, these diseases could make your condition worse. This article will provide you with details on the common winter ailments and how to prevent it.

Cold

Cold is very common to happen at any time of the year and people with low immunity tend to catch a cold very easily during the winter seasons. Obviously, children are also more prone to cold during this season. The signs and symptoms include sneezing, coughing, running nose, sore throat, headache, nasal congestion and mild fever. As said earlier colds are highly contagious.

So how do you prevent it? Germs are spread everywhere on the touchable surfaces. Therefore the first and foremost step is to wash your hand thoroughly and frequently with plenty of water. This destroys the germs that you have picked up from the touching surfaces used by other people with a cold(like switches and door handles). Lastly, do not use a handkerchief, instead use disposable tissues to prevent the reinfection.

Fast fact: A common cold virus is capable of reproducing 16 million offspring just within 24 hours.

Influenza

Influenza is commonly known as the "flu". A common viral infection caused by the influenza virus. Older adults, young children, pregnant women and people with weak immune system are at higher risk of this infection. Symptoms include fever, chills, running nose, headache, joint pains, nasal & chest congestion and fatigue.

The best way to prevent this is getting yearly "Influenza vaccine" World health organization(WHO) and Center for diseases control and Prevention(CDC) recommended. If you at the high-risk group, consult your doctor to get the vaccination. Washing hands frequently will also help.

Fast Fact: You can diagnose your flu in just 15 minutes using Alere i, a medical device that can diagnose the flu with a simple nasal swab.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi, which carry air to and fro from the lungs. There are two types of bronchitis acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis is also known as a chest cold. This ailment is very common during the winter, which causes the buildup of mucus and causes difficulty in breathing. The symptoms include coughing of thickened mucus and shortness of breath.

As a prevention measure, you should keep your immune system strong to inhibit any kind of infections that occur during the wintertime. If you have prolonged chest cold or congestion, immediately consult your doctor. Your doctor will treat you according to your condition and quit smoking.

Fast Fact: Bronchitis can be deadly and life-threatening if left untreated.

Sore throat

A sore throat is yet another winter ailments caused by viral infections. The cold temperature during the winter season will aggravate the condition. The symptoms include pain, dryness, and itching feeling inside the throat.

Drink hot water and avoid cold foods to stay away from a sore throat. Gargle with warm salt water daily to get rid of it. Fry onions with ghee and eat it to get relieved naturally.

Fast fact: Smoking can exacerbate a sore throat and smoky atmosphere can cause the throat to become sore.

Asthma

The cold air and the fog during the winter trigger asthma symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should take utmost care. Avoid being in outdoors for a long time and always carry your inhaler and other medications with you.

Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when you step outside. Don't sit by the fireplace for a long time as the smoke from the burning woods can irritate your lungs and worsen your asthma condition. Keeping your asthma under control during the cold days could be a daunting task. Follow the above strategies to decreases your asthma symptoms. Take proper medication as instructed by your doctor.

Fast Fact: Asthma costs more than $50 billion every year in health care costs.

Cold Hands & Feet

Cold hands & feet are very common during the winter especially for those people with weak immune system and iron deficiency. The typical symptoms include a change in color of your hands and toe, pain, numbness, pins and needless.

This occurs because of the temporary spasm in your blood vessels which blocks the blood circulation.The color change can be white, blue and red. It is recommended to avoid smoke and caffeine as it can aggravate this condition. Always wear gloves and socks to protect your hand's and feet.

Fast Fact: Raynaud syndrome is the condition which makes your fingers and toes change color.

Heart Attack

It's surprising that winter causes heart attack but it is a true fact. The cold weather increases the blood pressure and the blood rush through the arteries causing strain to the heart. Keep your body warm and eat foods that regulate heat in your body. Heat your rooms where you live often and use an electric blanket to keep you warm during your nap.

When your body temperature falls below the normal, it causes hyperthermia and heart attack is the major cause of death in people with hypothermia. Therefore it is mandatory to dress appropriately for the cold days when you step outside.

Fast fact: Each 1.8 degree Fahrenheit reduction in temperature on a single day was linked to about 200 additional heart attacks.

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