Here's how people with chronic sinus, tonsils can manage their health in winter
The onset of winter combined with poor air quality has led to a rise in chronic respiratory illnesses with exacerbation of chronic sinusitis and tonsillitis. Doctors share tips on how people with pre-existing chronic sinus and tonsils can manage their health during winters
During winters, since the humidity in the air is very less, the alignment of sinuses and tonsils is very common and that is the reason people tend to get more affections on the nose or sinuses on the throat. According to health experts, the onset of winter combined with poor air quality has led to a rise in chronic respiratory illnesses with exacerbation of chronic sinusitis and tonsillitis with patients flocking to hospital OPD with recurrent cold, sore throat and cough with many taking nearly over two weeks for recovery.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shama Kovale, Consultant ENT at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai, shared, “People with pre-existing Sinus issues or tonsillitis need to keep themselves protected from cold generally. Keep your immunity up by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are seasonal. Exercise also helps to some extent. For pre-existing sinus issues typically if, you have allergies you need to be aware of the allergens in the air with air quality getting bad to worse. Wearing masks in such conditions is very helpful. Avoid drinking cold drinks or anything directly from the fridge. Keep yourself warm by wearing warm clothing.”
In case of pre-existing tonsillitis, she suggested, “You need to have warm fluids and warm food. Avoid very oily and spicy food. Try to keep yourself warm. In winters, generally we get Viral or bacterial tonsillitis. If it is bacterial tonsillitis, we do not need to take antibiotics. Drinking warm fluids like warm water, soups green tea broth etc can help. Warm salt-water gargles can also be tried. Avoid eating fried foods. If you have a tendency of getting recurrent tonsillitis, you must visit a doctor if home remedies do not help. If fever does not go down in a weeks’ time it is necessary to visit an ENT Surgeon.”
She added, “If you have, a tendency to get common cold every winter protection from cold is very important by keeping yourself very warm. Common cold and allergic cold are different types of cold people can get during winters. Common cold generally settles within 1 week to 10 days where as allergic cold will continue until the allergens are present. Allergic cold will not be associated with fever ever. Therefore, it’s important to understand what kind of cold we are suffering from when we are using home remedies.”
According to Dr Harshad Nikte, Consultant, ENT Surgery at Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, the simple thing is to keep the humidification at an appropriate level at times you can use humidifier, taking stimulation at home, if you have been on any kind of noses spray which has been prescribed to you by ENT doctors exclusively than you can start it on and simple you can start gargling is of paramount importance because right now the pollution levels are severe to bad category that is the reason why maintaining good respiratory health is important.
He said, “If you have nasal discharge which is bit greenish or yellowish and if stimulation along with the nasal spray is not helping, you should go and consult your ENT doctor at the earliest to prevent the chronic sinusitis getting burst , similarly in cases of tonsils and having sore throat, at times we indulge into good delicacies during the winters , we eat oily spicy foods we may eat a lot of fried food so people having sensitive throats should take proper precautions and not indulge into any food habits which can lead to bad throat but if the pain in the throat persists than the best possible thing is to go and visit nearest ear nose throat doctor which will help you in that.”
Dr Tejal Bhathiwala, Consultant - ENT at PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre in Khar, highlighted, “The drastic change in weather and ambient temperatures, deterioration of air quality and increasingly unhealthy lifestyle causing a decrease in natural immunity as the main reasons behind more patients getting sick in this season.”
She recommended the precautions to be followed during winter season to prevent acute exacerbation of chronic sinusitis and chronic tonsillitis:
- Wear woolen clothes to keep you warm when you go out.
- Avoid contact with people who have colds or who are sick with other infections and avoid crowded places.
- Manage your allergies. Work with your doctor to keep symptoms under control.
- Avoid cigarette smoke and polluted air
- Use a humidifier
- Steam inhalations. Specially patients with nasal blockage and congestion.
- Drink required amount of water every day and stay hydrated. Water helps to clean our system and remove toxins, carry nutrients to the body cells and help balance body fluid.
- In case of throat irritation, drink lots of warm water. Keep yourself hydrated with warm liquids.
- In case throat irritation, do warm saline and diluted betadine gargles
- Avoid chilled and outside food.
- Avoid dry environments
- A good amount of sleep helps to keep the body's immune system healthy, boosts the immune system improving defence against seasonal ailments like flu and colds
- Sleep with your head elevated to prevent nasal congestion
- Adequate exposure to sun .Go outdoor and soak in the warm sun, our body requires vitamin D - which is essential for maintaining health and immunity
- Eating a well-balanced diet including whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are essential to the boost immune system. We can also have an optimum intake of foods rich in vitamin C, as it helps to strengthen our immune system and to keep our body healthy.
- Vaccination against pneumonia and influenza especially for those with compromised immunity, either because of age or comorbidities
- Wearing masks especially when the air quality is poor, and avoiding crowded indoors.
- Take Vitamin C and B complex supplements.
- Patients with chronic sinusitis should use their antiallergic nasal sprays (steroid based)
- Do deep breathing exercises and use saline nasal washes.
- Practice healthy lifestyle