The monsoon is long gone and now its time for winter to set-in with its teeth biting cold, that would even shiver your inner soul. And with the onset of winter one can expect to be confronted with a variety of winter ailments. The human body takes a bit of time to adjust to change in its environment, whether it is a change in diet, in geography, or a change in temperature and the climatic variations. Every time the seasonal changes in the weather has a direct impact on our body function, and it takes some time to get accustomed to the change, there by letting infections with an opportunity to attack the body. During this period of adjustment to the changing season, the body’s immunity tends to be low and therefore the body is susceptible to attack from viruses and bacteria.
As soon as the body experiences a drop in the external temperature, the process to get accustomed to the new climate begins. This is the time when most people start to suffer from ailments like the common cold, coughs, sore throats, and the flu.
Some of the other common winter ailments include dry, itchy skin, seasonal allergies, chest congestion and runny noses. People suffering from diseases like arthritis and asthma suffer even more as their symptoms aggravate greatly during this period of winters. Here’s what can be done to prepare for the approaching season and keep those winter ailments at bay.
A majority of the winter ailments occur due to a weak immune system and flagging health. A strong immune system can not only shield the body against common ailments and infections but also ward off other, more serious disorders and diseases. The immune system can be kept healthy by eating good, healthy food. A balanced meal can help a person keep fit. Taking plenty of rest and exposing the body to adequate sunlight can also improve immunity.
It is important to prepare the body well in advance for a change in the season. It is more important, however, to be logistically prepared for the changing season. A lot of people fall prey to the changing weather because they are ill prepared for it. It gets quite chilly in the night and therefore adequate measures should be taken to keep the body warm. Make sure that your air conditioning and other heating devices are in proper working order and warm clothes should be prepared well in advance, keeping it dust and fungus free, ready for use.
The cold and dry weather tends to dry the skin more readily. Dry skin may crack and chap to form sores. It is better to drink lots of fluids and use water-based moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and prevent it from drying. Natural oils like jojoba, coconut, and avocado oils are great when smeared on the body. They can help soothe the skin and should be included in daily grooming routine throughout the winter season.
Plenty of nutrition will help you take care of both your health and your skin. Vitamins like vitamin C help boost immunity. Vitamin C can also help prevent common cold and flu.
Illnesses in children are as much a part of winter as cold weather. Among the most common seasonal illnesses we see are viral respiratory infections (influenza and respiratory syncytial virus), streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat), and viral gastroenteritis. While many of these diseases are unavoidable during this season, but there are lots of things that we can do to help keep these diseases at bay and make our lives less miserable.
When most people think of winter illnesses, they think of the flu and with good reason Flu is a very common cause of both mild and severe childhood illness in the winter. Influenza activity typically peaks between December and February. The good news is that almost all cases of influenza are preventable.
Winter is also the season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). While it infects people of all ages, typically causing sore throats and nasal congestion in adults and older children, RSV can cause considerable coughing and wheezing in young children. Infants with RSV infection may also develop pneumonia requiring hospitalization, No effective therapy for RSV infection is available for outpatient use, but symptoms can be treated.
Streptococcal pharyngitis or Strep throat, a most common condition seen in children of late preschool and elementary school age. Many of us expect to get cured as soon as possible and force doctors to prescribe antibiotics for sore throats, streptococcal bacteria cause only about 15 to 25 percent of sore throats, while others are caused by respiratory viruses, which are unresponsive to antibiotics. Doctors can’t consistently distinguish between streptococcal pharyngitis and sore throats caused by viruses based on physical examination alone. As such, all children suspected of having strep throat should have their throats swabbed to determine if streptococcal bacteria are present. Children with streptococci in their throats are appropriately treated with antibiotics to reduce transmission of the illness and prevent rheumatic fever.
Gastric problem and indigestion are quite common in winter along with outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis i.e. inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, while most episodes of gastroenteritis in young children are attributable to a particular virus called the rotavirus, however many other viruses can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. Gastroenteritis generally gets better of its own, however, young children are at particular risk for dehydration. For this reason, it is especially important for parents of infants and young toddlers to keep on hand a supply of oral rehydration solution (ORS). While earlier generations of pediatricians advocated delaying the reintroduction of breast milk and solid foods, recent studies suggest the child can return to a normal diet as soon as it can be tolerated. Plenty of fluids are to be given like, tender coconut water, rice/dal water along with the ORS solution.
Preparing for winter illnesses:
The illnesses in winter are an inevitable part. However immunizations and good hand washing can prevent some illnesses, winter illnesses should be expected in all children. To be prepared, parents should keep on hand medications on advise from Doctor for treatment of fevers, along with it box of soft tissues for runny noses, and for young children, a stock of oral rehydration solution. Parents with children in daycare should also make plans for picking up children should they become ill on a weekday, and plan ahead for alternative childcare arrangements if needed. Parents with questions or concerns about their child’s illness should call their child’s health care provider.
Seasonal illnesses can be stressful for families, but most of these illnesses are mild and will resolve spontaneously. Parents and children should make the best of their times together, especially when children are sick. Use sick days as opportunities to read together, listen to music and talk with your children. Love, Care and attention are powerful medicines that work wonders.
And as said long ago, prevention is always better than cure… Hence take necessary precaution and get engaged in boosting up your immune system.