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Keep winter ailments at bay

Brief rain spells, increased humidity and decrease in temperature is resulting in city doctors being lined up with cases of acute asthma, joint pains and reduced skin and hair quality.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 17, 2012 01:53 IST
Rhythma Kaul

Brief rain spells, increased humidity and decrease in temperature is resulting in city doctors being lined up with cases of acute asthma, joint pains and reduced skin and hair quality.

“Respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, acute asthma attacks are common these days. Even cases of winter viral diarrhoea are on the rise as the air is full of disease-causing viruses and bacteria,” said Dr Supriya Bali, senior consultant, department of internal medicine, Max Healthcare.

For the past two weeks, she has been getting about 15 such cases daily; the number previously was limited to about five a day.

Not to forget the usual cases of severe cough and cold with slight fever that one will find a case of in almost every house during this season.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/17-12-12-pg-07a.jpg

Doctors say exposure to sudden cold is the main culprit; as most people are not properly clad.

“People find the thin winter air difficult to breathe, especially those who already have a medical history. The best option is to keep yourself well covered, especially the nose, chest, head and hands, while stepping out,” said Dr AB Dey, professor, department of medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

However, people do not need to pack themselves in several layers; doctors say wear just about enough warm clothes so as you do not shiver.

Joint aches and stiffness is also a common complaint when the temperature drops. Besides wearing warm clothes, doctors also advise people to not use cold water; especially those suffering from bone diseases such as arthritis, and avoid venturing out during mornings and evening as far as possible.

It is better to do light exercises indoors rather than going for morning or evening walks in this weather. Place a rug or a mat on the bed side to avoid placing your feet on the cold floor in the morning after getting out of bed. If you feel stiffness in hands and feet, keep them in lukewarm water for 10 minutes, while moving fingers and toes slowly.

The kind of food one eats also makes a lot of difference in this weather, as certain food items boost immunity and help maintain body temperature.

“A strong immune system helps a great deal in fighting off various winter diseases. A healthy diet that includes seasonal fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts should be included in your daily diet. Home-made natural soups, with lots of veggies in it, are the best thing to have in winters,” said Dr Shilpa Thakur, senior dietician, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

Dry skin, pigmentation, dandruff and dry hair is also common in this weather. Beauty expert Shahnaz Husain advises to not use hot water to wash hair as it damages hair follicles. “Opt for a hot-oil massage before shower and wash with lukewarm water. Use a good quality hair serum before stepping out. Keep skin well-moisturised and apply sunscreen before going out.”

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