Winter can be a difficult time for arthritis patients. According to many studies, an increase in pain was reported with a decrease in the temperature. The cold and dry weather can worsen the symptoms of asthma and up the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. There are several common health issues that you experience in winter, which is also called the season of cold and flu. It’s a myth that cold is caught by being exposed to chilling weather and not keeping yourself warm in winter. Cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract, caused by a virus when it is inhaled. The common cold is spread through infected person’s sneeze, speech and from loose particles from the nose while wiping. The virus can be spread by touching surfaces contaminated with respiratory secretions. Here are some of the common winter health issues and tips by Dr Narendra Prasad, Consultant Physician, Columbia Asia hospital, to prevent them. (ALSO READ Use this Home Remedy to Get Instant Relief from Cold and Cough).

Flu

Flu

Sore throat: Scratchiness or dryness in the throat which later leads to pain are some of the most common symptoms of a sore throat. It is mostly caused due to infections and weather circumstances.

Asthma: It is a lung disease, in which inflammation and narrowing of the airways occur. Sneezing, coughing, chest tightening are some of its symptoms. There are two types of asthma: Allergic and non-allergic. Allergic asthma is caused due to exposure to an allergen such as dust, pollen, paint dust and smoke. Non- allergic asthma is caused by cold, flu, stress or extreme weather. (ALSO SEE Natural remedies for cough)

Flu: Flu also called Influenza, which is a severe illness caused due to contagious respiratory viruses. The symptoms vary from mild to severe which at times can result in hospitalization and rarely death. Usually young kids or older people whose immune system is weak are often targeted to flu’s.

Painful joints: Orthopedic doctors say that in cold weather, the human body will conserve more heat, and more blood would be circulated to heart and lungs. So when this happens, the arms, shoulders, knee joints blood vessels will contract leading to pain. (ALSO READ Headache home remedy: These 6 home remedies for headache actually work).

Heart attack: Elderly people are more at risk due to drop in body temperature (hypothermia) in the colder months. The heart is affected by increased heart rate and blood pressure, where the heart needs to function harder to keep the body warm. These changes increase the risk of blood clots or thickening of the blood vessels which leads to heart attack and stroke.

How to prevent the infections?

Washing hands thoroughly, covering mouth and nose to avoid dust, drinking plenty of fluids, eating a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables will keep the immune system strong and prevent the infection. Regular exercise, especially yoga and swimming, is beneficial for long-term health. Avoid use of antibiotics and self -medication. Vaccination is recommended for elderly, children and people with chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes.