BHOPAL: Foggy and chilling mornings and evenings have heralded winter in the city. It is time for the people to be cautious for health particularly those suffering from heart ailments and those who are asthmatic. Cold, cough and flu are also common in this season.
During winters, the body heat usually experiences a drop as the environment cools. At the same time, the body is adjusting to the new climate. As a result, the proneness to a number of diseases grows. While some people cannot help catching a few common diseases the moment the temperature changes, most can avoid these ailments by just being careful.
For many individuals, however, the winter brings with an opportunity to grow healthier and fitter. For three of the most common health complications, using home remedy solutions will improve the symptoms of these winter related ailments and ensure a more pleasant winter season.
Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold snaps increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart. Your heart also has to work harder to maintain body heat when it’s cold. Stay warm in your home. Heat the main rooms you use to at least 18 degrees Celsius and use a hot water bottle or blanket to keep warm in bed. Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.
Winter is the most vulnerable time for patients with heart disease. People become more prone to heart attacks in winters. That is because the arteries that arise from the aorta become constricted with a fall in temperatures, as a result of which the heart has to put more effort to pump blood. This makes the heart stress out and leads to a heart attack. It is more risky for those who do not have any inkling about pre-existing heart conditions.
Tip 1: Give your heart a break
Cholesterol levels fluctuate significantly with a change in seasons, and during the winters. The cholesterol levels are likely to be higher than normal. If people suffer from borderline high cholesterol, they are at a greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases during the winter months. Therefore it is essential that, apart from managing cholesterol levels, they should avoid stressing out your heart which bears the brunt of high cholesterol levels.
Tip 2: Slow down
Do not overdo things and avoid exhausting oneself. Give oneself some rest and take frequent breaks so that one does not overstress ones heart; even if that means altering one otherwise intense workout regime.
Tip 3: Walk in the sun
Avoid going for a walk in the morning on extreme chilly days. Instead heart patient can go for a walk in the evening when it is still sunny.
Tip 4: Eat little, frequently
During the winters people end up eating more than they are normally used to. Eating a large meal at one go can put an extra load on heart. Rather, eat small meals at regular intervals.
Tip 5: Avoid alcohol
Most people tend to drink alcohol in the winters thinking that it will help them stay warm. But, too much alcohol can cause arterial fibrillation and Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats. If one must drink, one does so in moderation.
Tip 6: Be prepared
Keep emergency pills at hand that will help resolve any complaints of breathlessness or chest pain. Pills like Sorbitrate help prevent chest pain and act as an emergency pill in the case of a heart attack. But, before you buy the pill make sure you buy and use these pills only after consulting a doctor.
Tip 7: Keep warm
Hypothermia is one of the leading causes of death during the winters and heart failure is most often why a person dies while suffering from the condition. Therefore, keep hypothermia at bay by staying warm. Wear layers of warm clothes, bathe in hot water only and stay indoors as often as possible.
Tip 8: Don’t ignore the signs
Never ignore any discomfort in the chest, severe sweating, shortness of breath and pain in the neck, arms, jaws and shoulders. All these symptoms are indicators of a heart attack, and you must visit a doctor immediately.
Tip 9: Get regular check-ups
If you have any chronic health condition, especially heart disease, regular check-ups are always advisable. It can help pre-empt any serious health conditions at a latent stage making treatment much easier.
Dr Subroto Mondal, Cardiologist JK Hospital,
“In winter, coronary arteries which flow blood to heart, develop spasm. It means it starts working slow. Secondly, people who are allergic or asthmatic problem, develop heart problem. People should avoid morning walk as low temperatures aggravate pressure on heart. Those who have blockades or are susceptible to heart problem should keep these things in mind in winter.”
Colds, cough and Flu:
Contrary to popular belief, cold and flu symptoms are not a direct result of falling temperatures. Instead, many individuals begin to suffer from bacterial or viral induced cold and flu symptoms resulting from a compromised immune system. In the winter, when temperatures begin to fall, the body naturally begins to work in overdrive to regulate the normal body temperature. As a result, individuals who frequent extremely cold temperatures will often diminish their own immune system as the body works to regulate normal body temperatures. When the body is put into such extreme conditions, the immune system is compromised thus leading to a greater incidence of cold and flu conditions. Again, to offset this over exertion by the body layering in a variety of warm clothes will aide the body in regulating body temperature without undue stress.
As the winter approaches, following basic guidelines in keeping warm and involved in light enhancing activities will ensure a more pleasant transition through the holiday period. Through the balance of body and mind, the focus on coordinating holiday events is the next major hurdle in relieving stress. Through stress relief, the overall effect on daily living is improved.
Flu is a major killer of vulnerable people. People aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.
The best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu jab (or flu nasal spray for children aged 2 to 18). The flu vaccine gives good protection against flu and lasts for one year.
Keeping warm can help people avoid coughs, colds and flu. After our exceptionally mild autumn, people won’t be used to dressing warmly for wintry weather. So if there’s a sudden icy snap, people will be more likely to feel the cold and start to shiver.
Shivering depresses the immune system and this makes us more likely to catch colds. Also, lower levels of sunlight and altered levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin negatively affect how the immune system performs.
Although most infections are mainly carried in the air and transmitted by the “aerosol” effect when someone sneezes, germs can be transmitted by physical contact and enter the body when infected hands touch vulnerable parts like our eyes, mouths and noses.
Washing hands often – and drying them on disposable paper towels (or laundering hand towels regularly) – can significantly reduce the chances of catching a virus, especially the rotavirus, which tends to infect children and causes vomiting and diarrhoea
The direct result of the loss of body heat due to an obvious drop in the temperatures leads to cold. However, one is more likely to catch cold even one keeps switching over warm and cool environment owing to air conditioners. It’s important to keep ACs at an even temperature during winter. Dryness due to dusty roads may also lead to common cold most likely during winter.
One can help prevent colds by washing hands regularly. This destroys bugs that people may have picked up from touching surfaces used by others, such as light switches and door handles. It’s also important to keep the house and any household items such as cups, glasses and towels clean, especially if someone in your house is ill. If people get a cold, they should disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs to avoid constantly reinfecting their own hands.
People should avoid huddling and heating. Because people are much closer together physically during winter, this makes it easier for infections to pass between people. Crowded trains and Tubes with little ventilation, department stores bustling with shoppers and people gathering for parties all make catching a cold more likely.
Central heating reduces our defences and affects the respiratory system by drying out the protective mucous in our nasal passages. The dry, stuffy air of central heating can also lead to sore throats and aggravate chest complaints like asthma.
Raynaud’s phenomenon is a common condition that makes your fingers and toes change colour and become very painful in cold weather. Fingers can go white, then blue, then red, and throb and tingle. It’s a sign of poor circulation in the small blood vessels of the hands and feet. In severe cases, medication can help, but most people live with their symptoms. Don’t smoke or drink caffeine (they can both worsen symptoms) and always wear warm gloves, socks and shoes when going out in cold weather.
Sore throats are common in winter and are almost always caused by viral infections. There’s some evidence that changes in temperature, such as going from a warm, centrally heated room to the icy outdoors, can also affect the throat.
One quick and easy remedy for a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. It won’t heal the infection, but it has anti-inflammatory properties and can have a soothing effect. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of part-cooled boiled water.
Cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. People with asthma should be especially careful in winter. One should stay indoors on very cold, windy days. If one does go out, wear a scarf over ones nose and mouth. People should be extra vigilant about taking their regular medications, and keep rescue inhalers close by and in a warm place.
Headache: Cold winds sometimes play havoc on your head. Hence, shield oneself with a warm muffler or scarf. If one drives a two-wheeler, invest in a good helmet and a muffler if one want to stay away with persistent headaches during winter.
JP Hospital CMHO Dr Veena Sinha said, “People should avoid visiting the crowded place to keep themselves protected from cold, cough and flu in winter season. People should also avoid cold exposure. Keep warm themselves by wearing sweaters, mufflers etc.”
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