Winter and Your Health

We love freaking out in winter, don’t we? This is that time of the year when we feel so chirpy and energetic. Not like summer when all we can think of is the heat and humidity. During the months of winter the outdoor seems so beckoning. The urge to go out and savour the soothing sunrays is just irresistible. It even seems that we remain perpetually hungry during this season. Whatever we do and whatever we eat seems so ecstatic. Such is the magic of winter!

But we have to be aware! A few apparently insignificant ailments which occur during this season can spoil the day for us. A little precaution and care can help us overcome these nasty nuisances. Let me list them out as below:

 Influenza
Inspite of being a contagious respiratory infection, it is not a serious threat for most of us. But for the elderly who have a chronic health condition, this can turn out to be serious, even resulting in pneumonia.

Symptoms develop after three days of being exposed to the virus. They include fever, sore throat, running nose, cough, shivering, body ache etc. These symptoms can be quite severe and last for a long time.

The flu is highly contagious and if someone in the family contracts it then it is very difficult for the rest not to get affected. A mild pain reliever and a lot of rest and fluids constitute the best course of treatment. Take note that antibiotics do not work.

Flu vaccines are not always effective in prevention but can reduce the severity and related complications. Vaccines are strongly advised for the elderly with chronic health issues. It is necessary to get a flu shot every year because the effectiveness of the shots are for a year only and also the viruses keep on varying.

Colds
The world’s most common illness! More than a hundred viruses are responsible for it so it can be safely said that there is almost no escape. The virus begins to multiply as soon as it enters through the nose and throat, giving rise to a number of symptoms like sneezing, coughing, body ache, running nose, fever, nasal congestion etc. They are similar to influenza but the effects are less severe and short lasting. The duration of suffering is a week or two.

The best form of treatment is a mild pain reliever and a lot of rest and fluids specially fruit juice. Over-the –counter medicines might relieve some of the symptoms but they won’t reduce the duration of the illness nor can they prevent or cure.

While there are no vaccines but there are ways to reduce our chances of catching a cold. We should strengthen our natural resistance by consuming nutritious food and getting enough sleep and exercise. We should avoid the cold and dry air because the dryness causes the membranes in our nose and throat to crack. These cracks are the pathways through which the virus enters our body. Avoid direct contact with the infected and wash your hands frequently.

Vaishali Parekh

www.indian-cooking.info

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