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5 Common Winter Ailments and How You Can Avoid Them

Follow these simple tips to prevent complications from winter diseases caused due to cold weather and weak immunity

  • 16 Dec 2020
  • min read
  • 34 views

By taking good care of your health and body, you can avoid serious ailments during the winters

It's that time of the year when you sip hot cups of coffee or ginger tea while enjoying the foggy mornings and chilly evenings. While you look forward to being bundled up in your favourite winter outfits and relishing cosy nights under the blanket, you cannot ignore the fact that this season has a downside to it as well.

If you fail to take proper care of your health and body, you can end up with severe ailments during the frigid winter months. A sudden drop in temperature can cause significant health issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia etc. What seems like a common cold or flu, in the beginning, can progress into a more severe illness if not taken care of properly.

Read on to know about a few common winter ailments, their symptoms and prevention tips.

Common cold

This is one of the most common winter diseases, and most of us often ignore it, thinking it's due to the changing season. Though we are right to an extent, if this common cold or viral infection doesn't subside in two to four days, we need immediate medical help. Common cold can affect anyone, but children and senior citizens are more vulnerable to severe disease symptoms.

Symptoms of the common cold:

The common cold symptoms include headache, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. However, if the condition worsens, you may also experience high fever, chest congestion and breathing difficulties.

Prevention tips:
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids
  • Get adequate rest and sleep
  • Wash your hands frequently to avoid infection
  • Avoid outside food as much as possible
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing
  • Gargle with hot water or inhale steam


Flu

Flu is often mistaken for the common cold by most people. However, that may not be the case every time. Flu, also known as influenza, is an infectious health disease that mainly affects the infected person's respiratory tract. The leading cause of flu is the contamination of the body with the influenza virus. It can last from 2 to 7 days, depending upon the severity.

Symptoms of flu:

Most of the symptoms of flu are similar to that of the common cold. A person suffering from flu may experience mild to high fever, sore throat, body ache, headache, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, and cold. In some cases, patients may also experience pain in their ears and redness or itchiness in their eyes.

Prevention tips:
  • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing
  • Maintain a safe distance from people showing flu symptoms
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain respiratory hygiene
  • Exercise daily and consume immunity-boosting food


Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an infection in the person's respiratory tract, caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Children or toddlers below the age of two and people with weak immunity are mainly affected by this disease. Bronchitis causes inflammation of the small airways in the lungs, causing breathing difficulties. If the symptoms persist for more than ten days, medical intervention is required.

Symptoms of bronchitis:

As mentioned above, the person suffering from bronchitis experience difficulty breathing due to the inflammation of airway passage in the lungs. Other symptoms of bronchitis include mild fever, wheezing, coughing, nasal congestion and dehydration.

Prevention tips:
  • Get adequate rest and sleep
  • Drink lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid smoking and exposure to smoke, firecrackers etc.


Pneumonia

Pneumonia is another common lung disease which can occur during the winter season. Unlike other winter diseases, pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection. You can usually treat it at home, but hospitalisation is necessary if symptoms get severe. Pneumonia can prove to be a life-threatening disease for children below five years of age and senior citizens.

Symptoms of pneumonia:

A person suffering from pneumonia experiences constant cold and high fever for several days. Other pneumonia symptoms include excessive coughing, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, heavy sweating, and shortness of breath. Though pneumonia symptoms can vanish in one or two weeks, weakness and fatigue can last for a month or so.

Prevention tips:
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Eat lots of fruits and leafy vegetables
  • Avoid smoking and exposure to smoke
  • Exercise daily to boost your immunity
  • Visit your physician if the symptoms persist


Norovirus

Also read:

Also known as the winter vomiting bug, norovirus is an acute stomach illness which causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is a highly contagious disease which can affect people of all ages. Though norovirus infection can occur any time during a year, it is prevalent during the winters. If you've contracted this disease, it's better to stay at home for at least 2-3 days.

Symptoms of norovirus:

As specified above, norovirus is characterised by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The affected person may also experience intense stomach pain, fever, and chills. Constant dehydration may also cause prolonged weakness and fatigue.

Prevention tips:
  • Drink lots of water and other fluids
  • Practice oral hygiene
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them
  • Avoid eating outside food

In Conclusion

Though the winter season brings pleasant weather, it can also take a toll on your body if you aren't prepared to cope with health issues. Extreme cold weather may cause inflammation in your body and weaken your immune system, resulting in several diseases. Therefore, eat a balanced diet, practise proper hygiene, and follow winter disease prevention tips mentioned above to stay healthy and safe.

It's prudent to procure a health insurance policy to keep yourself secure against medical emergencies and unwarranted expenses. In case of severe infections which lead to hospitalisation, insurance can ease your financial worries and help you focus solely on recovery.

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