Winter is here! Misty mornings capped with hot cocoa in our cozy jumpers and fluffy woolen hats make us feel good. But health care doesn’t come as easily in winter. The dry wind and chilly weather can make you ill. Here are the most common health issues you need to look out for and a few tips to get you through the chill with a smile.
Cold is a viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It’s quite common and usually clears within a week or two. The main symptoms of cold include sore throat, blocked or runny nose, sneezing, cough with mild temperature and headache. Being a viral infection there’s no cure for a cold, but you can take good care to let it pass easily:
- Rest, drink plenty of water and stick to a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables.
- Take over-the-counter medicines (if only necessary) such as paracetamol, to reduce any fever or muscle pain/headache.
- Using decongestant sprays or tablets to relieve a blocked nose.
- Trying remedies such as gargling salt water and sucking on menthol sweets.
Tip: Prefer disposable tissue paper in place of a single towel/handkerchief to reduce infection through your hands.
Cold air is a major trigger for Asthma attacks. Increased pollution and pollen content of atmosphere during winter is another cause of concern.
- Keep your reliever/inhaler on your person at all times and keep taking your regular preventer inhaler that is doctor prescribed.
- In case you feel the need to use your medication at shorter intervals, do consult the doctor as this may be because the prescription needs to be revised.
- It is very important to keep warm and dry – gloves, scarf and mufflers go a long way.
- Try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth as your nose warms the air you breathe in.
Tip: Try to remain indoors on really cold or windy days. If unavoidable, use a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth.
With winter come painful joints. Arthritis is a major concern for the aged and young alike. As per studies, changes in temperature and barometric pressure can trigger joint pain, though the cause behind this is still unknown. But, we can make sure that the pain can be avoided or lessened.
- Dressing warmly during winter.
- Always be sure to pay special attention to your head, hands, and feet.
- It’s also important to keep up with regular exercise.
Tip: A massage once in a while will help increase your body temperature and blood circulation.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Hey lazy head! It’s normal to feel a bit sluggish in winter. It takes extra effort to get out of the bed. But if you’re feeling moody and completely zapped of energy, it might be more than just “winter blues.” You could be affected by seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, which hits most people with the drop in the temperature and continues throughout the winter months. Most studies point the finger at reduced sunlight as the primary cause for this issue. Reduced sunlight can disrupt your internal clock and lead to a drop in chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin, both of which play a role in mood.
- Exercising regularly
- Getting outside and spending some time outdoor (when it’s not so cold).
Tip: Get a dog; cheers up anyone!
This is the biggest issue of every winter morning! Dry skin is nothing a little moisturizer can’t fix. But at times, it can lead to serious cracks that are not only painful, but can even lead to infection if they’re not properly cared for. Our hands are often hit the hardest because we use them so often.
- When washing your hands, use mild or moisturizing hand soap before drying them thoroughly.
- After each hand-washing, apply a good hand lotion that contains petroleum jelly to lock in moisture.
- Wear gloves in cold weather or when using harsh cleaning products, and to moisturize your hands overnight.
- Drink plenty of water.